Fons Welters

Martin Kähler

21 Nov 2014 - 24 Jan 2015

© Martin Kähler
Why not hang with painters?
photography Gert Jan van Rooij
Why Not Hang With Painters?
21 November 2014 - 24 January 2015

Martin and I often discuss our work together. As a painter, I somehow have a hard time with these conversations. Though unintended , he makes me feel kind of uncomfortable thinking about my own practice. Why are there still people like me building a frame, applying paint on a limited surface and hanging that ‘thing’ on the wall?
Often words like ‘space’, ‘content’, ‘form’, ‘context’, ‘idea’, ‘object’, ‘reference’, ‘material’, ‘process’, ‘installation’ are mentioned. Martin's work somehow merges all these different components, but is first of all a tribute to space. In a material process he responds to the physical space. While looking at Martin’s work, I get the feeling of sensible nonsense, everything has to be exactly the way it is in order to work, however its actual meaning escapes.
When I think about what painting means to me, it is the transformation of material, converting the ordinary into something unexpected and surprising: pure visualization. I am painting a yellow form. Could be a banana- it's not a banana. It’s pigment on canvas.
Both transformation of material as its dematerialization can also be found in Martin's sculptures. He de-familiarizes ready-made materials and makes them serve their own purpose, each carrying its significance towards the other.
Martin uses his subtle sense for the compilation of material and creates serenity. The transformation ensures that the material is newly contextualized in the room.
A diamond casually holds together a sculpture made out of bent aluminium bars. It becomes as fragile as alive. Without it, it would immediately collapse, doesn’t that make sense?
So why not hang with painters?

[Maximilian Arnold]

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Looking at Martin’s work somehow reminds me of one of my spare time activity: walking. Not particularly walking in the woods, parks or shopping streets, but walking in more dystopian sites like areas around harbours , abandoned houses, factories, alongside train tracks . These urban, industrial or functional areas, have their own empty pockets of space. Where debris of a deconstructed worksite, or an active construction site, has piled up, either in masses or small objects spread out..

This space between construction and destruction seems to be a key factor in Martin’s work, as it is difficult to see what part of this it is actually doing, is it a space in constant activity? Is the artist constructing a new space, maybe even a walk for the visitor, or is he just giving these already deconstructed objects a new context, a new purpose in the gallery space?
To tell you the truth, I don't know, maybe that’s why I am able to relate to it in terms of painting, as that is the core of my practice as an artist. This uncertainty of purpose within space is something I clearly see a lot of painters are working either against or towards in their work.
Building up or tearing down is sometimes so close to each other in my own practice , that I don't even know the difference between them anymore, it just seems like they need and appreciate each other
What is this? What can this be to others? And what does this mean for me and others?
What does this represent? What do you represent?
Why not hang with painters?

[Mickael Marman]

Martin Kaehler graduated this year from the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and is currently studying at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt. For his exhibition in Playstation he's asked Maximilian Arnold and Mickael Marman, two befriended painters to reflect on his practice.

Simultaneously, his work is on view at Castrum Peregrini in the exhibition 'Selected'

Tags: Maximilian Arnold