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+ A.R paintings / 'Caput'



The exibition "Caput" (Latin for 'head') at the Berlin Art Week in late September/early October 2018 happened to be the first official presentation of my new "A.R. 51" paintings, a group of images I made on the occasion of some strange expieriences surrounding my birthday. Most of these works include the image of some unfamiliar figure, mostly anthropomorph with not convenient expressions, especially with their strange looks, maybe from annoyance or fun. Sometimes they seem to be looking for trouble.These images were rather involuntarily funny and looked as if I had tried to paint them with my left hand. But how does it happen again and again: the intention becomes something else! Sometimes an ugly duckling turns into a pretty, graceful foal.




A.R. Alter Äther-Mann, 2018, 150 x 100 cm, Öl und Reste auf Leinwand








A.R. Pussy Hut, 2018, 170 x 160 cm, Öl auf Leinwand







An Introduction to the exhibition "Caput"
by Claus Brunsmann

If you have no ideas, you paint a head. When you hear the word ‚Caput', you may not think at first that it means ‚head’ in Latin language, because it sounds like the german word for broken: kaputt. It is ambiguous. But as a painter you might also think of an oil color with the ominous name Caput Mortuum. Although today only a few painters think about this particular color. This color is gone. Dead and buried, Ad Acta, as they say in Latin language. In the age of flipcharts and Facebook, colors are somehow not that important anymore. At least the names of the colors. Nowadays people have magenta or cyan in their minds when they think of colors.
When I think of heads, I think of heads in painting. ‚Tränenkopf’ (Tear-Head) is the name of a picture by Georg Baselitz. This tearhead became famous because it was depicted in the book „Kunst der Gegenwart“ (Art of the present time) by german art critic Klaus Honnef, one of the first successful publications by Taschen-publishers. Later, I saw the real picture at the art fair Art-Cologne. It's medium in size, so not that big compared to the formats this artist normally uses, it's actually rather small, but on the other hand not a small format. The head is green and hangs upside down, as usual with Baselitz. The tears look like trees. The last thing I wanted to do as a painter was to paint a head. Head painting is for idiots. Even to paint ‚ironic’ heads was for idiots I thought. I did not really want to paint anything ‚representational’, nothing narrative, and I did not want to tell a story, not an illustrative painting. Absolutely nothing narrative! Nothing! Finished! Over and out!

When the East German painter Neo Rauch came up, the whole story started from scratch. In between, there were painters like Tuymans or Krebber, but their paintings would have been called ‚bad’ before. In the meantime, the world had changed: the pictures you used to call bad were now the good ones, and the pictures that were called good in the past were now the bad ones. Neo Rauch would have called a ‚good painter’ at all times. But I did not want to be a ‚good painter‘. But I also did not want to do ‚bad painting‘, like Albert Oehlen, whose ‚bad painting‘ style I liked, when I saw the first pictures in 1988 at Max Hetzler gallery in Cologne. I thought those paintings were great, but I could not manage to paint that bad on purpose and secondly I did not want to imitate him. Albert Oehlen, who really painted a lot of great pictures, once made a painting called ‚Blödkopf‘ (dumb-head). A head that sticks out it´s tongue. That was not my favorite painting (he did a lot better!) but the title fits the theme. Painting heads is just stupid and I never wanted to paint heads. I wanted to paint pictures that are ‚beautiful‘. Let´s have a nice picture! - But without a so-called ‚narrative’ that does not work. The superficial beauty is often not beautiful, but cheesy. What most people understand as beautiful, I call shit. Or boring. If a picture does not work formally, such as, if an idiot wants to paint a beautiful picture and it comes out a stupid picture, then it is boring. Not interesting. You do not look at it. A picture with a head on (and that has something to do with this exhibition title) - is like a picture with a hard-on - it wants to be looked at. But therefore it's still not a good painting. It may not be a bad picture just because it has a head on it, but it's still not a good one just because it looks at you with its head painted on.

One could have called the exhibition ‚Carport‘ as well. A carport is a garage for the poor. This, in turn, brings us closer to the modern conception of painting. You could say that modern painting is a carport for the poor. That would be funny and inspiring. A secret of successful pictures is that they contain a contradiction in themselves, something weird, incomprehensible. Marc Bolan from T-Rex already knew this when he called a song ‚Metal Guru’ (1972). In Latin language, there is not only the word ‚caput’ but also the term ‚contradictio in adiecto’, ie the contradiction within a concept.  We are almost came to the point where a beautiful picture is already a contradiction in itself. This far we have come.

So far we have come with our modernism! I am therefore not become a conservative. I have always been one in terms of the medium, oil on canvas. But I was never a conservative in terms of thinking.
Now ‚You can learn anything from a good painter. How to live, how great painters live!’ as the famous german author Rainald Goetz writes in his book ‚Cataract‘.
Good painters must therefore be aware of how it works with the head. The good painter has to protect his head. Like a boxer. A good painter parks his head in the carport, you might say. There it is halfway safe. Of course I'm only talking about modern painters here. For me personally, the modern age is over. I never saw myself as a modern painter. Modern painters are clever painters and clever painters are bad painters.
That's how it is.





A.R. Gender in Renaissancelandschaft, 2018, 200 x 150 cm, Öl auf Leinwand








A.R. Nihil obstat, 2017, 101,6 x 76,2 cm, Öl auf Leinwand







A.R. Angst vn Braun, 2017, 130 x 115 cm, Öl und Lack auf Leinwand









A.R. Unerwiderte Zuneigung (2. Version), 2018, 180 x 150 cm, Öl auf Leinwand






A.R. Bart und Garten, 2018, 110 x 90 cm, Öl auf Leinwand






Claus Brunsmann, A.R. Datenkrake Claus, 2018, Öl auf Leinwand, 80 x 80 cm






A.R. Propofol, 2017, 200 x 190 cm, Öl auf Leinwand








Die Ausstellung "Caput" (lateinisch für "Kopf") anlässlich der Berlin Art Week 2018 zeigte u.a. einige meiner neuen "A.R. 51" - Gemälde, einer Gruppe von Bildern, die ich aufgrund einiger verschiedener ungewöhnlicher Vorkommnisse rund um meinen Geburtstag gemacht habe. Die meisten dieser Arbeiten enthalten Gesichter mit Augen, oftmals anthropomorph anmutend mit einem ungewöhnlichen Äusseren, kennzeichnend durch den oft seltsamen Ausdruck, vielleicht aus Ärger oder Spaß. Manchmal scheinen sie nach Schwierigkeiten zu suchen. Diese Bilder waren eher unfreiwillig komisch und wirkten, als hätte ich versucht, sie mit der linken Hand zu malen. Aber wie geschieht es einem doch immer wieder: aus der Absicht wird etwas vollkommen anderes! Aus einem hässlichen Entlein wird ein hübsches, anmutiges Fohlen.







Poster for Caput exibition by Claus Brunsmann







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