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The colour scheme is immensely captivating

1964-06-06 Die Fargebung fesselt ungemein
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Camouflage technique: Peter Valentiner exhibition at the French Cultural Institute

Peter Valentiner, freshly arrived in Cologne from Paris, has only the large format, the bold claim to space and dominance, this "here I am - I am not to be overlooked" in common with the so-called young savages. A call to which the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris did not turn a deaf ear and at the beginning of this year acquired an eight and a half metre by eight and a half metre opus, "Tarnnetz".

The artist, born in Copenhagen in 1941, trained in Tours, was a prize-winner at the 7 Biennale in Paris in 1971, then a scholarship holder at the Musée Rodin and set up numerous artist collectives. Valentiner teaches as a guest lecturer at the Summer Academy in Trier. His painting, which he describes as a "mixture between Vasarely and Morris Louis", is conceived as a constant struggle between the forces of order and chaos. In terms of form - and this is demonstrated by his most recent works now exhibited at the French Cultural Institute (Sachsenring 77) - he has not yet freed himself from the compulsion of the "camouflage technique" that made him resort to netting, grids or spotted leopard fabric for military purposes in the early 1970s.

In Valentine's new, large vertical formats, on which broad, seemingly metallic bands curve and bend, floating freely in space, the colouring is captivating, this juxtaposition and coexistence of blue tones and red scales, which, due to a tiny spot of purple, is called "Hommage à Monet". Van Gogh, whom he loves, inspired him to this very Bleu, and especially for the German mind, for whom the forest is a matter of the heart these days, he might have let this deep spruce green rustle up, as it were, in his most successful composition.

But far from approaching the Expressionists with this Kirchner and Pechstein green, Valentiner sees himself as a pure abstractionist who prefers pure formalism to any speculation with a metaphysical background, however it may be understood: the play with free form, which sees itself as a telescoping of foreground against background, arising from the technique of pasting over and removing again. (Exhibition until 30 June)


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