Lullin + Ferrari

Michael Bauch

12 Feb - 27 Mar 2010

© Michael Bauch
Untitled, 2008
Acrylic on canvas
180 x 360 cm (70-3/4 x 141-1/2 in.)
12 February – 27 March 2010

We are delighted to show new works by the German artist Michael Bauch (born 1951 in Wiesbaden, lives and works in Hamburg) for his first exhibition in Zurich. Bauch studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (Academy of the Arts) in Hamburg. His professors were Kai Sudeck and Gotthard Graubner. Since graduating in 1978, Bauch‘s work has been seen in many group and solo exhibitions in important international galleries.
His career began in the early 1980s, when the so-called Neuen Wilden, which was determined by figuration, narration and expressive gestural painting, was the current art movement in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Bauch‘s conceptual paintings were far from this movement; he had other interests, which he follows until today. His work convinces through the concentration of its means: it is self-confident and self-evident and bears in its sharply-defined formal specifications a sensual moment. Rightly his new works have been put on the watchlist in the Berlin art magazine Monopol. His latest paintings are now to be seen in Zurich.Bauch‘s paintings, although conceptual allow figurative associations. The artist indicates that there is no narration or figuration at the beginning of his work but a clear constructive dissection of the picture plane through skilled manual work procedures. In his analytical art Bauch deals with the question of what a painting is. He assigns pictural planes, organising them with colours and forms. Each painterly mark on a plain canvas evokes a spatial impact, which Bauch often accentuates and picks out as a central theme, by physically intervening directly into the canvas, cutting, piercing and folding it; as well as by varying the flow of the paint and the characterstics of the paint-brush. Bauch reverts to a wide range of possible image solutions. His paintings evoke very different moods ranging from sombre heaviness to exhilarating lightness, creating these effects in particular through his intelligent use of colours.
The prelude to his exhibition in Zurich is a large painting, clearly visible from the street through the shop windows. The painting is nearly covering the entire wall opposite the entrance and the shop window. The composition is defined by piled monochromatic discs, which form modules. These colour modules touch each other and constitute therefore new patterns and samples. Figure and ground compete with each other and lead to the question, which level is in the foreground and which in the background? The modules are derived from clear gestural drives. Through its playfulness and order the painting holds musical qualities. Bauch follows in the creation of his works a peculiarity: He defines the decisive colours just before the end of the painting process and introduces them into specified space. The balance of colours is pivotal to this approach, which results in daring, but nevertheless harmonious colour combinations.
In the middle room of the gallery, visible from the first room, hangs a painting, in which Bauch uses again the colour modules of piled discs. But this time he restricts himself to two colours, green and black, and arranges the composition more severely. In this painting Bauch achieves the impression of concentrated calm; it is less playful then the large-sized painting in the entrance hall. In the other paintings in the middle room Bauch‘s choice of sometimes vibrant colours and their combination develop atmospherical and figurative associations, often surprising the artist himself: Bauch creates through formal means the passing of the seasons and poignant moods.

Tags: Michael Bauch, Gotthard Graubner