PRINT December 1988


Fragments of. . . rock. . . often present the characteristic forms of the cliffs from which they have been broken. . . . The same causes which produce the small forms fashion the large ones; the same influences are at work.

—Edward Whymper,

Scrambles amongst the Alps in 1860–1869

THE STRENGTH OF JÜRGEN PARTENHEIMER’S images is the strength that comes in powerlessness. The signs he devises are delicate, the shapes expose their own fragility; yet they are vehicles for the energy of directness. When you look at a Partenheimer work you feel that it is addressing you and no one else. Art can be direct in a number of ways, and this particular directness may seem to radiate a feeling of ease. On the other hand, it may also give rise to the sense of irritation some people experience in the face of openly displayed unprotectedness.

The drawing Die Quelle der Wörter (The source of words, 1985) offers

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