Despite the developing situation with the pandemic, we were fortunate enough to be able to arrange for German Stegmaier to come to our gallery for a few weeks of artist residency.
For those that are familiar with his works, you know that some works take years, even decades to finish. So we are really excited that the artist produced a few fully realised works during this time. With the peaceful remoteness of our gallery, the artist was able to really channel his energy into creating. The completed works are not figuratively portraying anything so our unique architecture and geography may not be exactly depicted, but perhaps some of you can see elements of it in some of them?
Originally a student of mathematics and philosophy, the artist made a big change to pursue a career as an artist. Even though for lay-people, math and art seem wildly disparate, but math at an advanced level is not so different from art. Mathematical truisms are derived from looking at something and deconstructing it until it becomes an abstract system. It can be used to understand time, space, and laws of the universe. With the same approach, Stegmaier explores drawings and abstractions as a system, analytically allowing lines and shapes to emerge or be erased over time.
His method begins with a figurative drawing of something, then he begins to let the system of abstraction take effect. For instance, he would add a detail, erase an area, rework a line. When something is erased though, the traces remain still. So is it really gone? For a work to reach completion, it could take years. This is why some works are dated since 1995 up to 2020. Over the decades, the progression of his language and artistry is not linear, and the ways in which they develop are multi-faceted. Each stroke is done with careful consideration, as they oscillate in and out of appearing on the surface. The resulting works are subtle, quiet, contemplative.
„It has to reach a state where I cannot add anything else, remove, or alter it, when it is a thing, a painting. The material must be transformed to such an extent that the painting or drawing also functions without me.“
– German Stegmaier, 2013
Even though his monochromatic drawings are not literal, they evoke architecture and spaces because of the careful linear compositions. The paintings, on the other hand, have an additional dimension of color to be deconstructed and utilised. With Stegmaier’s pencil on paper, the eraser works well to subtract any details that no longer serve the work. With the paintings, the artist uses a neutral non-colour like gray to block out areas that should be removed, and end up creating a layer of composition in itself. The negative space is just an important an element as the parts with lines or color. Everything eventually works together to form the self sufficient machine that runs without the artist’s interference.
We are showing Stegmaier’s work as he left the studio for our visitors. Luckily, we are able to stay open during this time, so get in touch to find out more about visiting!
German Stegmaier was born in 1959 in Muehldorf/Inn. After studying mathematics and philosophy of science for a year in 1977 at University of Munich, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich from 1980-86. He then studied at Rijksakademie Amsterdam until 1990. Having been in the gallery roster since 1994, the artist is one of the first ones to join Galerie Zink. He currently lives and works in Munich, Germany.