Heinrich Ehrhardt Gallery presents the second solo exhibition in Spain of the German artist Emanuel Seitz (b. Munich, 1973). Centring on his new pictorial work, the show constitutes an enveloping series of patterns, geometric schemes and prints which oscillate between the previously unseen and the modern. While specific pictorial formulas direct the gaze towards avant-garde formalist and colourist approaches, others suggest innovative strategies which reveal surprising materials and techniques. Out of this, a process of painting in constant movement takes place, appearing to emerge from the background of the canvasses to gradually deposit ornamental elements, shadows, sparks, symmetries and duplications in the form of brilliant pigments.
Belonging to a generation of German painters who brought about a resurgence of painting as an artistic discipline at the beginning of the 21st century, and which eschewed the obvious reworking of previous movements and schools, putting forward formal alternatives to what had gone before, Seitz has worked to construct his very own unclassifiable language. A glance at his most recent work compared to his earliest pieces suggests a gradual transition through which shapes dissolve to form codes and aesthetic typologies which define the geometric models of his current oeuvre. Shapes, which adopt specific patterns, and colour, exerting a command over geometry, have generated the development of a labyrinthine visual narrative.
In terms of its influences, Seitz’s painting makes reference to stimuli linked to time and space than to generic movements or schools. Moments and places in his work take us from Cézanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire and decorative elements of the backgrounds of the paintings of Matisse, or Cabaret Voltaire, Hugo Ball and Sonia Delaunay, to oriental culture, Byzantine architecture, Turkish architecture or Greek decorative arts.
If painting implies an incessant search for the unknown, Seitz’s pictorial formula provides a testimony of the fact. Patterns are repeated, forming visual labyrinths which conceal their beginnings and ends. Broken spirals draw the viewer in to a game of chance where the ornamental rises up as the background and form of the painting. In Seitz’s oeuvre ornaments are not conceived of as pure decoration but, rather, as the language to articulate a visual conception which involves a reflection on the gaze and its most intellectual sources. These are images that have been emancipated from that continuous and infinite process in which decorative art takes place.
The ornamental, along with the repetition of patterns, becomes even more evident in the large-scale works in which the concept of the spiral and its multiple variations sketch out a shape which, by repeating itself, encounters its difference. The formal colours and nuances, with geometric gestures such as angles, rhomboids or triangles, mark out the great differences which exist between apparently similar paintings. On the other hand, in the smaller-scale pieces, spontaneity and free and organic interplay are what mark out the guiding lines for the creation of images which, far from being invented by the artist himself, appear to emerge from the back of the canvas as if they were some sort of apparition.