Dunja Evers – Constellations
Colors beckon. Dark colors attract, suck in and absorb, lighter colors radiate and give out. Cadmium red, cobalt blue, sunflower yellow, lilac, violet, green-yellow, blue-red, red-red. They are patches of color in small formats between 20 x 30 cm and 50 x 70 cm, with albumen glazing colors are applied layer by layer, wet in wet, rubbed in by hand, leaving no trace of any recognizable style. Most of them are monochrome; the early portraits in darkish, broken colors, the later ones enlightened, radiant, and the most recent series vivid, vitriolic, artificial and fluorescent. The patches of color are backed by thin aluminium and mounted on the wall with no distance between them. From afar, they look as if they were inserted in the wall, like rectangular murals.
But color is only one aspect of these images, and it is actually the last element to be applied, the finishing touch. Nevertheless, it is the first thing that catches the eye. There are symbols generated by photographic and cinematographic means beneath the colors, signs and signals that look like flaws in the colors, eye-irritating irregularities that we may try to eliminate by blinking. As we approach more closely, however, a silhouette emerges from among the mists, contours and figurations, clearer and more definite in some images than in others, and stronger or weaker according to where we are standing. The contour of a face, perhaps, full-face or half-profile, a landscape with a horizon, or a detail of furrows and undulations in the ground, the architecture of an archway or a row of columns; and the deeper the underlying black, the stronger the lines and the graphic elements of the image, lending it a painterly and tectonic aspect.
The German artist Dunja Evers (born 1963, lives in Düsseldorf) makes her pictures by isolating 1-2 seconds or 24-48 pictures of her own or other Super-8 films. Using long exposures, she allows the movement of the film, the succession of individual images, to crystallize on, or “burn into”, the negative, thereby documenting not a quality or an unchangeable condition but a movement, a succession, a flow of symbols, dissolving the insoluble. And this image of flux is then “immersed in a bath of color”.
Dunja Evers’ pictures, in all their aspects, are fascinating hermaphrodites. They are both paintings and photographs, figurations and abstract planar painting, hybrid entities. They have an element of hovering visual ambiguity, a feeling of presentiment, of searching and not knowing. The portraits and the landscapes, although created by the same technique, make quite dissimilar impressions. But the melting and merging of figures and background, of photographic symbols and painting, is present in all Dunja Evers’ work. In all of it, detail is largely erased and eliminated so that only the essential forms and structures remain, the structures of passing and incised time in the portraits (the subjects of most of the portraits are elderly), and the structures of expanded, opened-up space in the landscapes.
The pictures take their effect not from having been cut out from reality like most photographs, but from addition, construction, from the total integration of the image into the chosen format. Allusions to reality are reduced to a minimum in favor of iconic, symbolic visual qualities that engender a realm of meaning between presentiment and knowledge, between the conscious and the unconscious, between focus and digression, reality and fiction, plane and figure – a lyrical, in-between area, a world in flux: icons of transit and of crossing boundaries.
The exhibition was curated by Stefan Gronert and Urs Stahel. A cooperation with the Kunstmuseum Bonn.
Main sponsor: Winterthur Versicherungen