Peter Bömmels

Reinhard Onnasch Galerie

Pictorial depth is becoming a significant issue in the current international discussion about art. American critics have been advancing the concept of depth as a fundamental ingredient of contemporary artistic endeavor (from German neo-Expressionism to Julian Schnabel), citing Theodor W. Adorno’s characterization of depth as “a dialectic in which content, far from being expunged, surfaces again as a result of form’s relation to the irreconcilable.” From a German point of view, the American fascination with an “art of depth” is entirely understandable. Conversely, however, one has the impression that the confrontation with the American preference for an “art of the surface” is too simplistic an interpretation of what is occurring in German art today. Depth has long been a double-edged concept in German art criticism. The poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal, for instance, wrote: “The Germans pride

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