"Elephant & Castle"
100 cm x 200 cm
For the first time Gallery Andreas Binder shows the new works by Matthias Meyer.
There's life in the old dog yet. This proverb is especially valid for painting. Just recently, painting has gained a new importance, after this genre had
experienced a temporary devaluation in contrast to minimal and concept art, to action art and new media. Currently, a series of young artists devote
themselves to the resurrected medium. Their central theme evolves around a new understanding of the picture and a reality, which has been formed
by the media. Matthias Meyer belongs to a generation of painters that are born between 1960 and 1975, and are tentatively grouped under the
heading of “The New Realists." A painter of landscapes, Meyer rather belongs to the traditional genre. Like many of his fellow artists, he has been
influenced by photography and has changed his point of view. The photographic medium ranks equally to his painting, as if the old argument between the genres never existed. The photographic picture represents the starting point and basis of Meyer's work. The choice of the subject matter is especially important, because his focus is not set on the sights of a metropolis or on the typical characteristics of a landscape. Instead, the painter has developed a predilection for remote, urban corners and silent landscapes, as well as for the individual characteristics of urban architecture, museums, and train stations. The latest London paintings are composed of this exact repertoire allowing him to depict the British capital in a different manner: not only pretty, but pretty good.
Although there is a strong relation to photography, Meyer does not paint in a photo realistic manner. His technique is a different one: soft contours and blurred details, hardly more than smudged tracks of motion. The principle of decreasing focus appears in all of Meyer's works and can particularly be
observed within his studies of the human figure, which has recently become a more important part of his oeuvre. The human figure that appears in the shape of silhouettes seems to move in a realm between appearance and disappearance. Similarly to long-time photographic exposure, the contours can only be guessed.
Meyer's painting style, his method of bleeding colors into one another, and his way of dissolving shapes, hides many secrets and contradictions. On one hand, this technique allows the viewer to identify the depicted image as architecture or landscape, which, at the same time, makes it more difficult to precisely identify the places. Whether it is Hanover or London, is only decided by the title of the work. On the other hand, time is brought to a standstill; the movement is almost frozen in time, yet leaves remote traces. The paintings are in a state of flux. They simultaneously generate duration and a stillness of volatile nature - moments, where quickness, speed and the split of a second matters. By the same token, the painter never loses his feeling for slowness, as if he had internalized Gottfried Benn's concept: “Who runs with the time will be overwh elmed by it, but the things will come towards the one who Stands still."
Furthermore, due to their watercolor technique, Meyer's paintings obtain a transparent lightness, a sensitive, seductive beauty that almost touches upon the realm of tender kitsch. The way he manages to avoid sheer loveliness is connected to the use of a particular color range. These colors that are neither pure, nor bright, but reduced and muted, adorn his paintings with a certain melancholic mood. This mood prevails and defers the viewer from perceiving the works as idyllic scenarios; instead, they are conveying a sense of increasing density. There are also monochrome geometrical forms embedded within the main composition. They represent a break in Meyer's painting that enables him to vacillate between figuration and abstraction. It is exactly this irritation that gives the work its fascination.
Text by Claudia Rahn