Martin Werthmann (*1982) is one of the most prominent artists of his generation worldwide to devote themselves to the genre of woodblock printing. His monumental colour woodblock prints on vast lengths of paper are captivating in their radically new use of forms as well as an aesthetic that puts the vague and the diffuse centre stage. Intuitively linked to this is the key question of space, which 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 actual 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.
Exhibitions at HELDENREIZER
2020 - "Martin Werthmann - The Catastrophe as Space", 04.12.2020 - 31.01.2021 in Munich
2019 - "Martin Werthmann - SILENCE", 12. - 14.09.2019 in Munich
Born 1982 in Gießen
Based in Berlin
2004-2009 Studies of Fine Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Hamburg
2019 - Marcus Trautner (ed.): SILENCE - Martin Werthmann, Heldenreizer Contemporary 2019