Harald Wolff

The narrative moment in contemporary painting is rarely sought and rarely found accordingly. Large paintings with large monochrome color fields, with large letters, with large numbers are en vogue as suggested retail furnishing for companies and administrations, for banks and political institutions - nothing to be narrated, nothing to be setted - this seems to have become the theme for the majority of our artists. The figurative object based painting has become a very small part of the art scene, small but distinctive, personal and obligatory to viewers.Harald Wolff narrates. He paints scenes and characters in snapshots of processes of time and space. His stories have the feeling of beautiful dreams, often of harmonious idylls, but also critical appeals. Nearly everything he is also decorating with satirical glacé icing titles, so that his oeuvre seems like a self-depreciating description. How does he get there? It is certainly the case that the painted surface is first covered with random abstract color gradients. And it is certainly more so that Harald Wolff develops from these shades characters which unite into small stories. His immense talent for drawing is benefitting him, a talent that is found in today's art scene increasingly rare.It is assumed that the unconscious mind controls his eye and his characteristic style. With Claude Lévi-Strauss, the French ethno sociologist, I want to hold, first, that the unconscious creates the common and specific nature of the social environments. It is responsible for symbolic thinking, it is a category of collective thinking. I will even go so far as to see depicted in the painting "special trip" a modern myth. Claude Lévi-Strauss says: "Not people think in myths, but the myths think in the people without their knowledge." The vocabulary of Harald Wolff creates in its variety of combinations a structure, or rather, a structural determination. Magical thinking within a system of a apparition world is "not a first attempt, a beginning, a sketch of a part of a whole world, not yet realized." The almost abstract image "Delicious Agency" despite being sketchy is for me a very exciting composition of static and balance, of attack and defense, of storming out and retreat. The square of the image shows us thus a myth of balance and continuity. We want to neglect that the title "Delicious Agency" could confuse us, after all, he creates an ironic distance in the sense of Brechtian alienation.One should forgive me, that I with a Paris citizen, which is Harald Wolff since 1980, am seeking a French intellectual background. Another witness alongside Claude Lévi-Strauss, for me is Henri Bergson, the philosopher and writer. Henri Bergson propagated at the beginning of the last century his notion of the "élan vital", even earlier his book on matter and memory has been released. This "philosopher of science" rejected rational and analytical procedures meant with time a "fragmented time". In the picture "Erred in Heaven" body and mind develop into a state of suspension, while fleeing. The movement and the flexibility unfold surprising explosiveness in a "fragmented" environment. For sure a solid composition in the form of a diagonal cross is an apparent cohesion for the characters; Henri Bergson's concept of "Elan Vital" seems to have found an amazing apotheosis. Bergson once said that had anyone who truly is a philosopher, in his whole life is pursuing one thought - he is always trying to formulate again. This idea, to think the appropriate time runs through many pictures of Harald Wolff.Harald Wolff tells stories within time and space that represent feelings and actions. The images that have emerged from the artist's associations are open to associations of the viewer. The significance of what is seen here is mostly emerging from the memory of former experiences, the perceived effect is complemented in the subconscious. Critical notes of contemporary history don't hide. The dramatic image "In Trouble with the Fatherland" shows a confrontation, as we know from historical battle scenes or contemporary judo fights. If the title should imply a kind of civil war, this interpretation is surely allowed as I think France is nearer to this phenomenon than Germany. The almost tango-like figuration has nothing very serious in itself, and with the merging of the two opponents, they even get a yin-yang-like interpretation of the unity of all things. Also historical moments have their place in the oeuvre of the painter: "Concrete Report / Concrete Breaks" as an improvisation on the Berlin Wall is a diptych that refers formally in its division of power blocks, but also tells in the scenic dynamic resolution of figure and fond of the surprising reunion on the ruins of the blocks. This dramatic resolution of a conflict is certainly one of the highlights in the work of Berlin-based artist who has experienced first hand the German division.The narrative montage with Harald Wolff is indeed a joining together of disparate parts, but is developing towards a resolution of the actions. The world is at Harald Wolff a web of possibilities, and his paintings reflect this character of the world. The "Spinnradliebe" looks at first glance with pretty hard ductal initially intimidating. On closer examination, draws the eye a green stripe in the horizontal, as on a blue stripe. The thereby interconnected two characters are holding on and floating at the same time, the spinning wheel acts like a drive, a small red cross in the center sets a dramatic final chord , which is simultaneously a center of meditation.The generous self-reliant uncorrected brushwork of green, blue and white as well as the dramatic anatomy of a right arm confirm the mastership of Harald Wolff. His style is unmistakable in this gestural abstraction, as well as the originality of his stories.

Peter H.Schiller

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