The question of space plays a significant role in the artist’s oeuvre. It is not the "classic" space created for perspective that is emphasised, but rather space as a sensuous experience in which human existence in all its facets finds expression. Werthmann sees his awe-inspiring woodblock prints as precisely constructed "spaces with no tangible contents", which allow the viewer an array of meaningful, sensuous experiences and thus bring to mind their own humanity. Accordingly, he sees his prints less as pictures and more as installations, which constitute a genuine experience space into which the viewer is drawn deeper and deeper.
Werthmann‘s impressive SILENCE series embodies this claim almost as a paradigm. It seems virtually impossible to escape the pull of these powerful, polychrome woodblock prints. The meticulously organised interplay between colour and form leaves the assumed subject or narrative of the picture perpetually vague. Rather, everything is constantly reforming with the persistent flow of one’s own chains of associations. The potentially identified disintegrates in the next moment, to instantly reappear in a new form and context: Landscapes become specimen slides with cell samples, shadowy figures rise from ornamental structures, and liquids solidify into hard matter.
Werthmann's works are based on real images. They are photographs of attacks, catastrophes and acts of terrorism, which critically shape our collective visual memory through the global "synchronisation of attention" onto such events by the media. Werthmann alienates these horrific images and processes them in the various layers of his woodblock prints, where they remain as virtually imperceptible vibratos, giving the forbidding in his works a factual basis.
Preview Thursday September 12, 2019
Westermühlstr. 3, 80469 Munich