21.11.2023 – 29.02.2024
Many contemporary painters today work at the interface between abstraction and representation. It is almost as if the potentiality of this transition is more important than identification with a particular position. Matthias Lautner (*1981) explores these “potential images” in the field of tension between abstraction and figuration by confronting and interweaving their divergent means of expression and precisely composing individual elements on the basis of perception, paired with a subtle pictorial narrative. His painting in recent years has been characterized by expressive and abstract scenes in which he realistically paints figures expressing thoughtful and introspective gestures. His latest paintings, on the other hand, attempt to break with this clear juxtaposition by integrating the figures into the picture in a more balanced way and making the abstract surroundings look more and more like a room or a landscape in order to test how close he can come to landscape painting without becoming really concrete.
However, for Matthias Lautner, the exact context seems irrelevant. He is primarily interested in a certain posture, a gesture or a physical expression that captures and builds up the mood already inherent in the abstract structure. By taking the figures out of their own temporal and socio-political context, he transports them into what can perhaps be cautiously described as “timelessness”. Although he has removed the figures from their own temporal context, their loneliness in his pictures can still be interpreted as a symptom of our time.
To summarize, it can be said that Matthias Lautner’s paintings are determined by contradictory but also mutually dependent pictorial themes. They elude the character of subjective symbols and refuse an objective iconographic meaning. Their narrative connections are subtle and appear encrypted. As ciphers, they give the impression of something that cannot be defined, something that is not there, something that is missing.
– Excerpt from Römer Grabner’s “We live, as we dream, alone…” (2013)
Participating artistsMatthias Lautner