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Enrico Niemann

Fields of transformation

text by Jennifer Bork (translated in excerpts)


“The production process of Enrico Niemann’s artwork is highly inventive. Thin sheets of plastic film are layered one above the other, all immersed in acrylic paint. This paint forms small runlets, streaks and structures, some of them already dried whilst others are still wet and shiny. The surface as a whole consists of different levels and, just as on a three-dimensional map, elevations and depressions form. Processes of construction and deconstruction characterize this paint pattern and one of the plastic film valleys holds a slick of blue.


Decalcomania, which produces this sort of amorphous and random structures, might have been a source of inspiration for the techniques used by Enrico Niemann. This reproduction technique was often used by the surrealist Max Ernst in order to depict dreamlike landscapes otherwise impossible to capture. Yet, with his technique and his materials such as acrylic paint, plastic sheets and resin, Enrico Niemann very much anchors his works in the here and now. Nothing seems to directly link these two artists. Nevertheless, the works of both artists not only share their pleasure in experimenting, they also both burst open the pictorial space. Within the realms of surrealistic painting such expansion of the pictorial space often goes hand in hand with a spiritual expansion and slow immersion. It almost becomes an expansion of the mind. In contrast, Enrico Niemann’s new works strive outwards at a high, almost explosive speed. The production movements – the dripping and pouring and running of the paint – are infinitely increased at the level of reception. Through the shapes and slices and shards that come into being, the works develop their very own materiality, a physical form. What seem to be material defects or imperfections, such as small bubbles and cracks, fragment and stimulate our glance. The viewers’ bodies begin to move: They draw nearer and step back, they tilt their heads in order to take a closer look at the various reflections and refractions of the light, and they kneel in order to explore the play of the surface structure, whilst their gaze continues to wander around in order to explore how the individual tableau interacts with the other works of the series. The color effect changes similar to the one on water surfaces bearing oil or petrol, and the eye jumps back and forth. The pictorial space is blasted open and Enrico Niemann’s works almost appear liquid and firm at the same time.


Apart from their presentation with unpolished edges set off against each other, this is why they look like fragments that have been taken out of a larger context. The Latin origin of the word fragment is frangere: to break. For his new works, Enrico Niemann uses this breaking as a stylistic device. The random structures resemble fractals and draw the viewers near. They hint at an interest for the principles of order and chaos in the works of Enrico Niemann. Thus, time and again, the artist subversively breaks up the forms that come into being. This is most obvious where random structures meet strict forms, grids or geometrically limited areas. This intervention illustrates the coincidence of order and chaos. Even the non-deterministically formed shapes blend into some kind of structure. Chaos and order are no opposites. The decalcomania, which sees the liquid paint pressed before taking it off the base medium, very often produces fractals, a mathematic figure with a uniform structure ad infinitum.


Jennifer Bork, Art Association Wolfsburg, Germany

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