Martin Noël


Wood, Painting, Woodcuts

Vernissage 12. March 2020

Ausstellungsdauer 13. March to 26. May 2020


MN: Let's go straight into Medias Res: Why did you choose Martin Noël,
when you were artistic director of the Art and Exhibition Hall of the
Federal Republic of Germany, why didn't you exhibit him?
WJ: The focus of our programme was on the thematic areas of
art, culture, technology and science. A One Man Show only went
only once a year, and here we naturally had favourites who were already
were already on the threshold of world fame, like Gerhard Richter,
Siegmar Polke and Sam Francis. Martin Noël died
too early at the age of 54. In 2010, after his death, he was given a very
exhibition at the Arp Museum Rolandseck, which gave an initial
first overview of his life's work.
MN: What prompted you to deal with Martin Noël again?
deal with him again?
WJ: By chance I came across the early catalogues of the Galerie Erhard
Klein Gallery. Here I discovered Martin Noël among the greats who
that were only beginning to grow at that time - that made me
curious about what Erhard Klein had already seen at the time and what had
what had remained hidden from me. In any case, I am very happy today
that many supporters were found to realise the exhibition.
realise the exhibition. Among other things, we can also pursue the question you
question you posed. The concept developed by Stephan Berg
Stephan Berg and thanks to your help. It concentrates on three
three groups of works in three rooms - ppp - paint print paint as
you could name them individually.
MN: Where would you classify Noël today?
WJ: Classification is always such a thing. Classify and lock away.
That's it then. It shouldn't be like that.
In the exhibition, the first p stands for his early informal painting.
which is about an impulsive, wild and saturated application of paint,
that flows around the silhouette of a corporeality. This dark
dark corporeality, the application of paint, even the black-and-white
even the motif of the ladder, which appears later in Noël's work.
ladder, which appears later in Noël's work, can be found in the works of the Dutch artist
Armando from the eighties.
MN: Do you mean that he imitated Armando?
WJ: Martin Noël was in his artistic infancy at the time and was looking for a point of
and was looking for a point of reference from which to find his
to his statement. By the way, this is a procedure that can be found
throughout the history of art. Artists let themselves be inspired by artists
artists, pick up on them and find something completely new. Noël was and
his library of over 4000 books is proof of this, extremely well read and
well-read and well-informed about the history of painting.
MN: What do you mean by that? Can you elaborate on that and explain
explain what you see as his strengths?
WJ: The work of Martin Noël in the second p is based on the
of Otto Freundlich, who played a decisive role in the development of modern
in the development of modern art (1878-1943).
He considered the line to be the essential separating characteristic
between things, which makes spatial perception possible in the first place.
spatial perception. Also of importance for Noël are the thoughts of the
of the English philosopher John Berger (1926-2017), in which he advocated the
for the discovery of the unnoticed, the rather insignificant, in the
the perception of nature. As abstract as the pictures of
abstract as Martin Noël's images may seem, they all have their origins in the immediate
the immediate, unnoticed reality addressed by Berger.
Be it the cracks in the floor of the World Trade Center in New York
after the first bombing in 1993 or the cracks in the walls of the houses in
the walls of the houses of Venice or the shadows of the flowers he
he discovered on his travels to Gomera and put on paper as sketches.
on paper. Later, he cut these lines into the wood of a printing
wood of a printing block and produced his series in the tradition of
his series. In doing so, he printed in a very special colourfulness
occasionally inspired by the colour theory of Le Corbusier (1887-1965).
He always printed in small editions, the larger prints were mostly unique
the larger prints are usually unique, which are distinguished by the strong and
and colourful structuring of the oil colours on the sheet.
Often, after completing the printing work, he declared the printing block
the printing block itself into an artistic object by covering it with paint or gold
gold leaf, thus depriving it of its reusability.
In his entire artistic oeuvre, and therein lies the
achievement of Martin Noël, he found his own artistic position.
artistic position. It is defined by the excessive dialogue
between line and surface, which does not follow a concretely constructive
approach, such as that of Günther Förg, but rather draws on
In doing so, he succeeds in transcending the meaningful expressive
expressive realism, as can be seen in the prints of artists such as Baselitz, Kiefer and Lüpertz,
Kiefer and Lüpertz, but also in the work of Felix Droese,
to leave behind in order to create his own territory, Artis.
own territory.
MN: In the third p, Martin Noël finds his way back to painting as it has
already hinted at in the last plates, which were painted back to the object.
to the object. So this p stands for his late work and at the same time for his perhaps most
perhaps his most successful painting phase.
WJ: In this phase he completely dissolved figurativeness,
the complete liberation from all subject matter. Thereby it is not
the strong ductus of the brushstroke and the strongly structured
structured application of paint is reminiscent of the work of Franz
Kline. Kline is one of the most important representatives of abstract expressionism.
Expressionism, Action Painting in the sixties in America.
Following this painting method, Noël found a unique way of
unique way of dealing with colour and light reflexes of which one can
can be said:
He has brought light and colour into the picture and has not painted a picture of light and colour.
of light and colour.
In doing so, he has remained true to himself and to the informal in a unique
to himself and to the informal on a high level.

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