Gelbe Mauer (Luckauerstrasse/Sebastianstrasse), 1977
Berlinerische Galerie is the Modern Art museum of Berlin. It houses a permanent collection spanning from the Berlin Secession c. 1900 until the present as they are still in a process of evolving. Walking through the permanent collection is quite captivating as everything has been hung chronologically and the artwork gives reference to the time in which it was made. On the ground floor however, in a gallery specifically for rotating exhibitions is the work of German artist Rainer Fetting. The exhibit titled Berlin, also features work from the series Role Play and the Portraits of Friends, A Defiance of Staticism spans from 1972 until present. As the title suggests, the exhibit features paintings on canvas, figures that have come into fruition based on paint and marks alone.
Not being familiar with the artists work, I was happy to discover this particular exhibit and must give kudos to the curator for offering a wide yet cohesive selection ranging four decades. Also of interest is that his subjects, sense of place/landscape and color energy all relate specifically to the city of Berlin. Rainer makes marks that are fluid and lush. The paint sits on top of the canvas and communicates not only personal action but also transposes character onto the subject. Rainer Fetting was one of the founding members of Galerie am Moritzplatz in the 1970’s and also part of Die Jungen Wilden (The Wild Young Ones) in the early 1980’s. He was interested in youth culture and the alternative lifestyle already occurring in Berlin in the 1980’s. He often portrayed homosexuality unflinchingly and in taking a cue from the Fauves (The Wild Beasts, early 1900’s) his usage of color and shapes is also reflective of the time period.
The image above is one of the first to have caught my eye and I found myself a bit giddy. The figure is both feminine yet also not particularly gender specific. The lilac color is dominating, somehow cool yet warm giving the figure a place to exist while also feeling otherworldly. The painted mask alludes to the possibility of Roma/Gypsy culture but also is just a nice compositional element, interacting with both the foreground and the background.
Rainer Fetting is currently based in Berlin, where he makes paintings and bronze sculptures. His work will be on view at Galerie Berlinische until September 12, 2011.