56 x 70 cm
Screenprint on paper
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Annual members’ gift, Stiftung für konstruktive und konkrete Kunst, 1998
Markus Weggenmann (born 1953 in Singen, Germany) has created a body of work that shares many elements in common with conceptual and hard edge painting. It also strikes a balance between abstraction and figuration. But most importantly, color is at the heart of his work.
Weggenmann taught himself how to paint. He began painting in the mid-1970s while still working as an occupational therapist. He also continued to paint after moving to Zurich, where he had a practice for psychoanalysis. In the early 1990s, he decided to devote himself entirely to painting and quickly gained attention through his pictures consisting of stripes in two to four colors alternating across the pictorial surface. His works, which are often shown grouped together as blocks in exhibitions, are charged with tension thanks to the minimalist composition, the visibly freehand application of distemper, and the resonance of the interacting colors. Two works in the collection of Museum Haus Konstruktiv exemplify this first and important phase of Weggenmann’s work.
In his second phase, which began in the late 1990s and made him known in neighboring countries, he used car paint to create fluid amorphous forms on an aluminum surface that interact through the play between pictorial and color space, and between surface and depth. These works, which also explore questions of authorship and push the limits of painting, are based on small paintings made by hand, which the artist then digitally processes to create the final template for the picture. While earlier paintings are neatly organized and reduced to three to five colors, more recent works show denser forms and, beginning in 2008, overlapping bright colors. Around 2010, these floral-looking shapes began to take the concrete shape of still lifes. Also around this time, Weggenmann began to produce rugs and ceramic works.
The work “Kraut (Nr. 230)” from 2005, which in the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, is made with car paint and is from his earlier phase, when his compositions seemed to hint at figurative elements. In 2015, Weggenmann returned to this reduced pictorial language, which is open to different interpretations, and began using a distemper with a high pigment volume again. As a result, he has been able to create intense color fields with an unusual pictorial depth and physical presence. This effect is often enhanced by the sheer size of the works and, more recently, by such titles as “Flache Skulptur” [Flat Sculpture] (2019) and “Flaches Denkmal” [Flat Monument] (2018). This third phase of Weggenmann’s work earned him the honor of the Swiss Art Award in 2018.