‹Painting Expanded›: Christian Kathriner, Peter Willen

In the actual exhibition Christian Kathriner and Peter Willen show new works. Since a long time, both work with painting, even though totally different. They are not only interested in the classic panel, but also in the transfer of the painting in other mediums, for exempla in photography or in serigraph.

And still you can always feel the affinity to sensation of colour and design. While Peter Willen has committed himself completely to monochrome colour field painting on tempera basis for a long time, and Christian Kathriner worked particularly with mural and ceiling painting and tabloid self portraits. The latter began to expand gradually his repertoire and found different techniques to live out his pictorial intentions. Peter Willen even developed in the direction of photography; for the first time, he will show his digitally edited photographs. Both explore the margins of painting and work at a gradual amplification of the notion of painting. The results are shown in the exhibition: ‹Painting Expanded›.

Kathriners verre églomisé picture ‹Sempione› is already visible from the outside on two shop windows of the gallery. He skilfully imitates the edged sandstone and in this ‹Trompe-l’œil› manner continues the Bernese facade inside the window. The light rooms become closed, the facade seems repellent and fortified. Inside the gallery he paints a ceiling quadrangle, whereby he uses the fluorescent lamps as a frame. The star motive reminds of sacral, baroque ceiling design, even if the refraining colourfulness and the constructional environment correct this first sight impression in favour of an architectural concept. His virtuously performed varnish painting stand next to serigraphy of alleged old still lifes, those anon next to art historically afflicted photomontage, Christian Kathriner is a master of artistic quotation, never embarrassed, pulling out – often as well at the same time - all the stops of art history. For the first time he shows his entire repertoire of artistic impressions in Berne and ads an important contribution in the actual art discourse.

For a long time calm dominated the works of Peter Willen. Those were contemplative works, erratic and ruminant, layer per layer he builds the monochrome colour field painting, only the different formats and the numerous colour shades beget of changing, of the movement. He has reinvented monochromasia, new defined; despite all the idols in art history. He now additionally shows for a first time his digital photo works. Starting from simple picture interventions, he discovers the single ‹Pixel›, out of this he successively unrolls the pictures by colour. As time drew on, his revisions became far more expertly and freer. The ink stripes began to fringe, changed colour began to shimmer, to gleam. Undoubtedly pictorial became the works and Peter Willen expanded his digital paintbrush and the digital palette from work to work. Picture sequences were torn apart and the fragments compiled in a new shape. The colours mix fluently, reminding of former models. One could nearly mean that the artist finds, after decades of long altercation with constructive and monochrome works, back to a ludic form. And now he flows in both worlds synchronically: In the ruminant-calm colour field painting and in the vital-bizarre world of photo mashups.

Bernhard Bischoff, October 2005