Basel

Hans Stalder

Galerie Friedrich

A bullfinch is perched high up on a flowering branch, its body flowing into a stylized sky, as if the picture—Spatz (Sparrow), 2005—were seeking to make us forget the difference between figure and ground. The clear red contour lines seem to disappear briefly when attention wanders; they are interrupted periodically, the breaks reminiscent of gaps in the memory of something one knows well. The branch, with sharply delineated leaves and fruit, fl oats on the surface of the painting in such a way that even a richly colored clarity is seen only fleetingly. Stalder uses simplicity in the plural: Various elements appear on the same surface of the painting as if on a stage—huddled close together, both to emphasize and irritate each other. And the location of the bird between the clouds is uncertain—is it actually a reflection in a shop window? Is the painting itself becoming a mirror that only

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