INTERSTELLAR: JONAS WEICHSEL
Galerie Thomas Schulte presents a new multi-part installation of paintings by Jonas Weichsel in the gallery’s Corner Cpace. The installation brings together 20 paintings from Weichsel’s Interstellar Paintings series, forming a continuous, shifting color gradient across the space. Building on formats and techniques introduced in previous series—like his TC (Two Color) Paintings, for example—here, Weichsel elaborates on his highly precise painting practice, which combines both analog and digital tools, techniques and aesthetics.
For Weichsel, color—how it behaves, the effects it can produce—is the central area of exploration in the works, which he meticulously composes and arranges within an expansive color field. His choice of pigment in the series is also particularly reflective of the relationship between analog and digital techniques that often characterizes his work. The Interstellar Paintings comprise primary colors—i.e., red, yellow, magenta, ultramarine and cyan—which are then mixed in various constellations to produce myriad colors and color relationships. Notably, the primary colors that Weichsel takes as the starting point are reminiscent of a digital printer’s ink – another point of fascination for the artist—which can produce a vast color spectrum by merging thousands of microscopic dots into a cohesive whole.
In a similar way, from a distance, each Interstellar Painting appears to be dominated by a distinct color—which is set in correspondence to the others to form a single gradient. At the same time, each painting is composed of gradients of its own: hazy, contrasting vertical bands of color, like digital scan lines. The suggestion of shadows and lines across the images, both horizontally and diagonally, as well as the faded “reflection” of the gradient that appears in each painting’s bottom half, moreover, lends an almost paper-like, material quality, as though the works have been folded and unfolded. The sense of light, reflection and shadow also serves to underscore their retinal nature, at the same time opening up extensive depths—not only within individual paintings, but within the installation as a whole. This sets the surfaces in motion, while imbuing the colors with a certain volume, even as they appear to dissolve. Their variable nature is further compounded by the viewer’s shifting relationship to color as they move within the space.
While the individual images and the installation appear more solid, cohesive and pared down from a distance, at close proximity, the paintings begin to break down into their complex parts— in a similar way to viewing pixels on a screen at high zoom. Though certain characteristics may reference digital reproduction, however, the works are singular—made up of a breadth of singular color arrangement. In this way, the paintings illuminate a high sensitivity to color—both in Weichsel’s application and our viewing, as each gradient not only requires time and layers in its creation, but also in order to fully experience it.
Taken together, the installation forms a comprehensive color index—a pictorial space that viewers can step into and move through. As they do, they navigate between macrocosmic and microcosmic scales, and are invited to imagine the unbounded possibilities that may arise within this immersive color space.
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