An explosion pressed into the paper. If Jutta Koether’s painting were a combustion engine, it would be fired by various different affective imports; these include images from art history and its detours, newspaper clippings, noise music, and the written, sung, and spoken word. An engine supplemented by a range of bolt-ons from various media, with the drawing as its most prominent addition – the catalyst that triggers the forward and backward reactions between the fuels and the painting.
Etching is a special form of drawing. Scratched directly into the printing plate with a needle, it is physical, while the monochrome printing ink and foggy patches of color (firmly placed here) give it a painterly quality. It can also be repeated until the plate is degraded by the printing process. It is the contradictions of this medium – the discrepancies between stasis and physicality, individual and copy – that form the motif of Koether’s Jahresgabe edition. A pressure bears down on the square in the middle of the image, as the center that propels all the other markings into the pictorial space. At the same time, it struggles to assert its integrity in the face of the loose crosshatching, the open curls, and the schematic flower form that seems almost to encircle it. The purple ink sitting in the recesses of the printing plate was pressed into the paper with a force that drives out the geometric calm within the storm. Calm does not come before or after an explosion in Koether’s motor; instead, it is the silence at the heart of it. Tout court: “Figure of Paint, as an existential means, in the behavior toward the growing and fading of EVERYTHING.” [Jutta Koether, “Figure of Paint: On the Incontrovertible!,” in: Texte zur Kunst, No. 100, December 2015, pp. 134–138, here p. 138. ]
– Tonio Kröner
Photo: Cedric Mussano