Helmut Middendorf

Annina Nosei Gallery

Helmut Middendorrs paintings are incorrigibly, erotically black. The artist exhibits a black humor that is at once resigned to and rebellious against the world—the morbid black of a jaundiced view of things. But Middendorf’s black is also a tonic, energizing his comic strip figures so that they seem beside themselves with dangerous life. For example, in Interieur (Interior, 1988), the stark black of a tree visible through a window conveys the intense lust of the male figures for the body of the naked female model. In other words, the black is not only a general atmosphere, but a particular instrument of displacement; it conveys the general grotesqueness of the world, as well as the life force of individual beings. Thus in Ameise—Schwarz (Ant—black, 1988), the giant ant throbs with black life. Having vitality represented by black was a common Expressionist way of suggesting that the

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1989 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.