Semjon Contemporary

It’s not dark yet - Dittmar Danner aka Krüger12 October - 24 November, 2018

About the show

Dittmar Danner aka Krüger has been known to us so far as Dittmar Krüger: the new name is irritating and this is exactly the artist’s intention!

His familiar ‘signature art’ is represented by cubes enclosing colours spaces, and wall objects, which are paintings and objects at the same time. The painting primarily takes place within the ‘open’ cubes. Most of the cubes have a depth of 12 cm and vertical alignment.

In the past, ‘his painting in the box’ has often evoked the question whether an artificial light source was integrated within. And the question was not asked without reason. Through skilful choice of colours (i.e. cadmium yellow combined with cadmium orange or Prussian blue with ultramarine) the artist creates visual experiences. The luminosity of colours is even intensified through superimposed Plexiglas panes with abundant grinding marks on the surface, a tangle of innumerable ‘light track grooves’. As with the fibre-optic cables they serve as light signal conductors spreading the colours spaces inward and outward. So the impression of an artificial light source cannot simply be dismissed, especially when the artist uses to paint vertical ultramarine stripes along the visible inner edges or narrow ends of the boxes, bordered by a deep dark Prussian blue. When changing the viewer’s perspective this stripe suddenly appears like a strip of light.

Dittmar Krüger has been pursuing the idea of colour spaces in cubes for two decades. One could also say that his focus on these ‘boxed’ colour spaces has been for him a self-chosen stage for methodic analytical experiments on the interrelation of colours, and their relation to the architectonic form of the box. The previous decade, the 1990ies, was influenced by replacing painting by substitute industrial materials which would lend these physicality in relation to the wall object – probably an important step forward towards ending the dominance of the canvas.

When Dittmar Krüger, now under his new name as Dittmar Danner aka Krüger, abandons the coloured light body caught in a cube in favour of the planar canvas, there is a reason behind it already explicitly articulated by adopting his new name: ‘Back to the Roots’ – after 30 years –, namely back to the canvas, which he already worked as a student in the painting class of Johannes Geccelli at the Hochschule der Künste (today’s Universität der Künste). The name Danner comes from the maiden name of his Austrian mother.

The flickering lines around the squares, which appear like hovering light frames in their wall boxes, have developed into a polychrome framework, which, transferred to the square of the canvas, proverbially opens doors: the upright format, with dimensions ranging from small formats of 30 x 24 cm to 240 x 180 cm, are his new stage for a firework of highrectangular frames, of which you cannot tell, whether they are positioned, or floating, in front of or behind the according larger or smaller frame.

The box frames around Dittmar Krüger’s colour spaces, as integral part of his ‘signature art’, continue in multiple repetitions as nested frames, doors or windows, describing imaginary space or spaces, the mysteries of which cannot be unlocked. Functions the surface in the centre of the picture actually as a border like a wall or indicates it further spatial depth? Is the frame actually a frame or another materialization of space? Through the use of gold colours or iridescent layers of paint the confusing effect is increased. Sometimes the pictures are heavy and impressive, suggesting ‘classical’ spaces that we believe to know from Egyptian or Roman times, or even Prussian culture, and then again psychedelically charged, fluorescent and daring colourings which affect the eye, putting it to a test, as it were. Sometimes the individual frame in the picture is precisely contoured and of a certain monochrome heaviness (occasionally also discernible as a heavy black line or beam frame – or is it the black depth of an infinite space?), sometimes of airy consistency reminiscent of watercolour painting. When the pictorial space is airily and watercolour-like outlined with only one or two floating frames, the viewer realizes that frames become doors, windows to freedom.

When on his large formats Dittmar Danner aka Dittmar Krüger indicates yellow, whirring, wispy clouds on light grey, airy ground, he allows us to share his vision and to explore the universe with all its opportunities. It’s not dark yet…

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