This show signaled a new phase in Helmut Federle’s painting. His palette, which was previously restricted to black, white, gray, and yellow, has been expanded to include green, red, blue, and orange, and his austere compositional principles have in a certain sense also been called into question. Not that Federle’s spartan work has become in any way extravagant; now as before, his canvases are characterized by their inimitable reserve, which contains both presumption and modesty. They come out of solitude—not hermetic seclusion, but a kind of self-oriented concentration on essence. This conscious, deliberate attitude allows the artist to surrender, to give himself over to the Other without becoming engulfed, and without his vulnerability rendering him open to threat.
Federle’s works develop in a painstaking process of concentration. Painting becomes the means through which the vision—the
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