Adem Yilmaz, Lichtbilder

Galerie Janine Mautsch, Cologne

The recent exhibition of Yilmaz's work provided an opportunity to view these recent "high-profile" commissioned abstractions in the context of a more general survey of the artist's work.

"Licht-Bilder" for him is a means to an end. His photographs and "Licht-Bilder" consist of countless, small raised blobs of bright color arranged in obsessively free designs in which abstract and figurative elements are mingled. These three-dimensional works are conceived in relation to the wall, and they explore a realm between illusion and material reality. In this show, which gathered works from Yilmaz's entire career, it becomes apparent that Yilmaz's sensibility straddled a philosophical gulf between the aesthetic of "L'Art Abstrait" and that of color field painting of the early 50s. In a series of seven "Licht-Bilder" pursued two major themes. One is that of a monastic passageway, which leads through a sepulchral space. The secondary theme is that of the ecstatic color patte set in a wholly abstract space. Thus, Yilmaz assumes the Status of an alchemist. For instance, in one "Licht-Bilder" he brings together an enlarged black and white photograph of organs and another photograph of television stars carved out of kinetic visuaness. From this vortex of abstract lines that collect in symbols, only to be dismembered again, an essential vision of language emerges as a System in which formation and dissolution of meanings echo the birth and death cycles of life. Yet, eventually this confrontation goads the observer into the task of stringently re-examining principles of perception which he had formerly assumed to lie outside the domain of educated doubt. In this vein, Yilmaz slips the observer into a great metropolis of "Licht," where it is apparent that reality may hardly yield to a clearcut definition. The merging ethos of Yilmaz is characterized by the way oneiric abstract and analytical thinking converge in the quest for the infinite.

Necmi Sönmez
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