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Publication COLOURSPACE David Batchelor - Ian Davenport - Lothar Goetz - Jim Lambie - Annie Morris - Fiona Rae

Goetz, Lothar (2021) Publication COLOURSPACE David Batchelor - Ian Davenport - Lothar Goetz - Jim Lambie - Annie Morris - Fiona Rae. In: COLOURSPACE. Silvava Editoriale, Milan, pp. 54-73.

Item Type: Book Section


Publication accompanying the exhibition COLOURSPACE at Mucciaccia Gallery, Rome.
published by SilvanaEditoriale, Milan
edited by Dario Cimorelli
text by Catherine Loewe

Lothar Goetz is best known for his dancing polychromatic patterns in the language of geometric abstraction which leap across the boundaries of two and three-dimensional space, sometimes on an epic scale, such as the 2019 commission for the exterior of the Towner Museum in Eastbourne. Goetz relishes the curves and angles that might defeat most artists to create effects that completely transform the spaces they inhabit. The radiating diagonals, lozenge-shapes and intersecting triangles in bright, rather unexpected harlequin hues on the Towner seem draped across it like material. The effect is part wrapped Christo, part dazzle camouflage, in keeping with his desire to alter our perceptions of space and the buildings themselves to reshape our own response to how we see the world. Goetz says, “The works are all about tension or discrepancy between the reality of the space and an abstract idea. I see the space, and I design this abstract painting in my studio, which then changes again completely because of the reality of the space. The moment it’s painted onto a wall, it becomes part of the space - part of reality, never completely abstract. There is a transition between abstraction and the real space; it’s this play that interests me.”

With Goetz’s site-specific commissions, the work might be described as 3D painting, uniquely responding to the architecture and context in which it is placed. The results are intimate dialogues with their environments, “ In an ideal situation, the building tells me what it wants. It feels like a cooperative practice. There is a spirit, there is an aura, a history.” The title of the Towner commission, Dance Diagonal reflects Goetz’s interest in the ephemeral world of movement and performance. The work is a dance of shapes linking stage choreography and painting composition. Goetz has likened his temporary installations to dressing up for a carnival, the element of transience allowing him to play with ideas and materials free from the burden of practical considerations associated with longevity. “Even the pieces I make in the studio—I’m not attached to them as objects. My pleasure and excitement in making them is not about making an object. It’s about the events that the object engenders or enables.”

A pivotal influence is Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet, which saw costumed actors transformed into geometrical representations of the human body in what Schlemmer described as a "party of form and colour". In the 1920’s Schlemmer ran the mural-painting and sculpture departments at the Bauhaus School before taking over as Master of Form at the theatre workshop. Goetz’s work is imbued with the ideal visions embedded in the art and design of political and cultural utopias of the early 20th century like the Bauhaus and Constructivism. Although colour is invocative of joy and liberation, for Goetz there remains an underlying political aspect referring to the darker narrative when radical abstraction was labelled as degenerate by the Nazis. Colour theory was at the core of the visionary Bauhaus teachings of Kandinsky, Klee, Itten and Albers who pioneered the holistic practice of art, architecture and design, “Modernism and the Bauhaus probably had the biggest influence on me. When I was a student, I became completely fascinated by the Bauhaus and what I liked so much was that they did not create a distinction between painting, sculpture, theatre and textiles – let’s say the fine arts and the applied arts. They broke these boundaries. I was always a huge fan of Josef and Anni Albers, they created a very positive world and manufactured something that a lot of people could afford – something beautiful for the masses, not just for the few.” In this spirit, Lothar has collaborated with manufacturers to create designs for fabrics, wallpaper and china.
Growing up in a small market town in Bavaria, architecture played a key role in Goetz’s life from trompe l’oeil ceilings in Baroque churches to the hard-edged shapes and geometric layouts of Modernist houses. Many of his drawings represent the floor plans of idealized dwellings for historical or imaginary people, an ongoing series where colour is used to denote functions and atmospheres of domestic spaces. Goetz says, “I’m responding to something: it could be somewhere I’ve been, or a piece of design, could be clothing. Sometimes I see someone in the papers, and I’m taken, and then I go to the studio and I draw a retreat for them and it looks like an abstract drawing, but it is actually an imagined ground plan for a building. I’m not interested in how that really would look like as three-dimensional. In the end it’s a colour composition.” Goetz’s work is the distillation of ideas lifted from the world, in a web of imaginative factors that continually feed into the geometrical arrangement of form and colour. In our times of global pandemic and civil unrest Goetz’s art remind us of the possibilities of both personal and collective utopias, better visions for a new world.

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Depositing User: Lothar Goetz


Item ID: 14259
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Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2021 14:30
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2022 11:23


Author: Lothar Goetz

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Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries


Fine Art > Painting

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