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This is not a retrospective


They met in Trier in the mid-eighties: Peter Valentiner and Walter Wolf. At the time, one was working as a teacher at an academy in which the other was participating. It was a brief encounter, as it always is when artists from different regions come together for a few weeks, filled with stimuli and acquaintances, most of which soon evaporate. Wolf was studying at the Städelschule in Frankfurt at the time, Valentiner lived alternately in Trier, Paris and Berlin. And yet the two have not lost sight of each other since.

It was not the commonality of an artistic approach that brought them together, but a personal interest in the other, a fundamental sympathy that is the beginning of every friendship, and which also touched the other's work, although or precisely because it was so very different from their own. In fact, they never tried to work together. Instead, they went on trips together, to Prague, to Berlin, to Paris. And for years they have met for breakfast in the studio to talk about God and the world and about art. One might assume that it had to be only a matter of time before the idea of a joint exhibition would arise.

They only hesitated for a tiny moment when the opportunity arose. They asked themselves what unites their art. And they quickly realised that part of the answer already lies in the question. Except in the context of art-historical survey presentations, it is usually avoided to bring together extremely contrasting painterly positions in an exhibition. Artists usually try harder to distinguish themselves from the other than to build bridges to an artistic approach they themselves would never cultivate. Thus, figurative expression and planned structural abstraction are often seen as completely separate worlds that seem to have nothing to do with each other. And in general, things are too often separated from each other in our culture.

A disjointed juxtaposition of possibilities, (world) views and activities determines the current context of life. Functions and views are specialised everywhere, also in art. The much-vaunted cross-over does not change this. There is a suitable offer for everyone, while the equal meeting of the different in one place is all too quickly and increasingly often experienced as a burden, superfluous irritation and effort. Most people find it easier to express an opinion on isolated phenomena than to compare and contextualise different phenomena. They prefer to make one thing the measure of all things and dismiss everything they don't know what to do with. But why do people always view the different approaches in competition with each other instead of in a mutually complementary relationship? And why do we separate ourselves from each other instead of looking for possibilities in the approach? This applies to painting as to everything else in culture. What is needed is not ignorance in "anything goes", but the effort to relate the different perspectives to each other.



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