"The artist Claus von Oertzen has found his very own path in contemporary art. With his abstract expressive way of painting he has entered new territory.
(...) Today he continues with artistically-conceived monochrome colour patches on large canvases.
The viewer has to re-orient him-/herself in these pictureswhich free emotions. The paintings "Cena no azul" or "Erupção" become spaces of meditative reception in which the intensity of colour draws the spectator in.
Exploring painting by doing painting, that is the driver, motivation and obsession of this artist.
The medium is colouring itself. No longer trying to mimic reality, colours detach themselves from any absolute notion of approximating reality. As a material they become an organizing principle for the plane of the picture in its given format, which largely covers the projection space, i.e. the canvas.
Von Oertzen´s work is thus both classical and modernist. Classical in the sense that the artist lets the viewer immerse him-/herself in an artificial space, modernist in the sense that the artificial space is given up in favour of a stronger network of shapes on the canvas.
Excerpts from an article by Renate Petrocini - Editor for Portugal of the "Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon" ('Dictionary of Artits'), Internationale Künstlerdatenbank, Sauer Verlag, München-Leipzig.
Extract from a speech given by Prof. Dr. J. Ph. Furtwängler at the opening of an exibition of works by the artist Claus von Oertzen:
(...) "To describe the specific character of his visual compositions, Claus von Oertzen says himself: 'When I hear and feel sounds I simultaneousely see them as colour shapes. It 'colour-sounds' inside me.' In reverse, his paintings reproduce experiences of sound. Just like the mime artist creates whole worlds on the stage simply by using gestures, without any words or props, Claus von Oertzen projects his imaginary worlds of sound onto his painted canvases. His pictures are neither text nor substitute for text, indeed Claus von Oertzen largely does without captions or titles. He thus creates a visual honesty which we often miss out on in so-called contemporary art.
The simultaneous expression of sound and colour (one also calls this synaesthesia) maybe off-putting when initially seeing or hearing his pictures, since due to the way we have learnt to perceive and think, we are used to interpret images in terms of text or context: we try to understand them in words. We expect from the visual arts that they facilitate the 'legibility of the world'. We should say goodbye to this habit of viewing art when looking at Claus von Oertzen's paintings so that we do not even attempt to read something conventional into them.
We really ought to try to look at them detached from the world of written academia and when viewing them to listen to the pictures in and into ourselves, to trace the sounds which they -
painted into the pictures - manage to evoke in ourselves."
"With such an effort the opportunity opens up for us to test more creative combinations of meaning than we are used to from our usual way of thinking, combinations within the ensemble of our strengths of mind which we mainly use for our orientation and communication and which open up totally new ways of experiencing in a playful fashion.
Only those structures of societies will survive in an adequate fashion which understand what art is trying to express, i.e. which - as is the opinion of the brain scientist Wolf Singer - apart from rational perception of the world, cultivate ways of communication which manage to relate complicated facts in other ways than using language.
All that, dear ladies and gentlemen, is not new and could be read in a similar fashion into Schiller's 'About the Aesthetic Education of Mankind'. To prove this allow me to close with a few verses by Clemens von Brentano which he originally composed as a dialogue between Piast, a blind old man, and Fabiola, his sensitive daughter which, however, I would like to recite in a synesthetic fashion:
Listen, the flute is lamenting again
And the cool wells are murmuring.
Golden, the sounds are drifting down,
Silence, silence, let us listen!
Sweet plea, gentle desire,
How sweetly it speaks to the heart!
Through the night which envelops me,
The light of sounds is looking at me.
Just as blind Piast can hear the golden sound carried by the wind and the sounds' light is looking at him, I hope that this exhibition and the triad of nature, music and painting which has defined Claus von Oertzen's journey through life will inspire you, ladies and gentlemen, and that the pictures on show will bring you joy, inspiration and fulfillment. That would be surely a happy experience for us all.
Prof. Dr. J. Ph. Furtwängler