Baden-Baden

Günter Umberg

Staatliche Kunsthalle

Between the two doors the visitor passes when heading toward Günter Umberg’s exhibition, the viewer glimpses the Ierusalimskaia Virgin, a Russian icon from the 15th century. The placement of this object links two exhibitions that have been conceived and presented separately. Since comparisons between the icon and Umberg’s eight black surfaces inevitably crop up, he is also declaring their relationship to be a calculated enrichment of each other.

Rooted entirely in the tradition of the abstract, Umberg boils painting down to its absolute minimum. The picture is present not as a reference, but as material. Up to 40 layers of loose pigment are applied to a sticky surface, to wood or aluminum. They are comprised of dust that absorbs light and reflects nothing, that permits no perception of space outside the material, pictorial plane. Even the exhibition space knuckles under to these pictures,

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