Guest curator Arne Reimann shows two artistic positions that interact with the gallery space, the first on a sculptural level, the second on a pictorial one. Whilst the two artists’ approach to their respective subject matter differs greatly at first sight, one senses a shared interest in blurring formal and iconographic information in their work. Despite their abstract appearance, the starting point for both Thomas Musehold’s (*1982) and Markus Saile’s (*1981) drawings, sculptures and paintings remains the figure.
Thomas Musehold’s sculptural work draws on found objects which he uses as a visual aid and turns into sculpture. He analyses and processes these objects; visually through drawings and formally by modifying them by hand or through chemical treatments. For instance, he employs sculptures made of carved wood which often exhibit pastoral or religious motifs and were commonly found in bourgeois sitting rooms of the 1950s. He also works with objects found in nature such as archaic-looking cones or undated glass.
These objects serve as a starting point for further investigation; Musehold begins to chip away at sections, to enter into the material, to shape, to carve and to cut, to form and to cast it. He highlights these newly found forms by finishing the surface in a way that corresponds to the individual object, using commonplace procedures such as shellac polishing or flip flop varnish.
The presentational structures specially developed by Musehold echo the gallery’s architecture, adapting to the reflective surfaces of the space as well as relating to Markus Saile’s paintings hanging on the walls.
Saile’s painterly work contains traces of the object and clear formal brushstrokes that, however, virtually dissolve in the multiple transparent layers of pigment on the canvas, interacting continually with shades of light and tonal values. Only rarely can the landscapes, spatial relations and half-remembered forms be descried in between the layers. Every greatly diluted layer of paint is followed by a process of washing out, overlapping, erasing and amassing. The chalk gesso that Saile employs has a long tradition in art history; indeed, it is the oldest and most durable priming technique and has been used for over 1000 years. It also possesses a certain luminosity as the colour is absorbed by the base, thus supporting the artist’s glazing process. The colours used also have historical connotations, recalling the scarlet hues of the sovereigns of historical paintings.
The paintings do not have a flat surface, however; the pearls, ridges and welts created by the gesso and the subsequent layers of colour make the works expand into space, confirming their status as objects and linking them back to Musehold’s sculptures which, in turn, are presented in an installation-like manner.
In the process-oriented development of Musehold and Saile’s works, the information necessary to decode motifs is largely lost, whittled down, eroded. It is only in the tactile qualities of both the sculptures’ and the paintings’ surfaces that the remaining traces are still tangible, piquing the curiosity of the viewer.
The title of the show – corraxoma – gives expression to both artists’ practices, linking chance, deterioration and analytical interest. The artificial word is composed of “corrasion”, a geomorphological term for the process of the mechanical erosion of the earth’s surface through wind and rain, and “xoma” which references alchemistical components in a pseudoscientific way.