135 x 85 cm
Oil on canvas
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Brigitte Waser
Dunkelblau-Grau-überkreuzt [Dark Blue and Grey Crossed]
Andreas Brandt (born 1935 in Halle (Saale), Germany, died 2016 in Niebüll, Germany) was one of the most ascetic representatives of German Concrete Art thanks to his consistent use of straight lines and stripes of equal width on a monochrome background. Inspired by American modernist painters, especially Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt, early in his career he developed a unique non-representational pictorial language that focused on the most essential elements for organizing the picture surface. He explored the systematic distribution of intensely colored or black and gray lines on a white ground, sometimes using a landscape, sometimes a portrait format. He moved to West Berlin in 1955, where he studied under Ernst Schumacher at the Hochschule der bildenden Künste Berlin until 1961. He then began his career as a painter and later taught at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg as Professor for Textile Design from 1982 to 2001. In the early 1970s, he began to reduce his repertoire of forms to rectangles, which he often painted as thin stripes of color. His compositions occasionally also feature diagonal elements that make these more dynamic. In the late 1980s, he developed a harmonic and balanced pictorial language.
An example of Brandt’s compelling and unique art is “Dunkelblau-Grau-überkreuzt” from 1991. Not only is the work remarkable for its proportionally structured stripes and subtle color scheme; it also expresses a calm poetics and an emptiness that suggests a vast space. The systematic structure consisting of subdued, light gray vertical stripes that are crossed by broader dark blue horizontal stripes lends the composition the appearance of hovering, while the interplay between formal elements creates a rhythm. If we walk back and forth in front of the work, our impression of the colors changes, like a sound that reverberates through the room. In this way, the structure seems to be visually set in motion. Despite its frame, the work’s surface opens up through a succession of harmonies, rhythms, and movements.
Brandt’s goal was to emphasize the world of the picture. He used pictorial means to combine rational methods of composition with rhythm and sound, sometimes creating the impression of listening to an etude by Bach. His main objective was to create “the picture as the picture with the means of the picture,” as he explained in 1970 in a publication of the Galerie Diogenes in Berlin, adding: “material is the surface, the colors. the goal is to set the surface – with its limitations and expansions – in motion through color. creating space, autonomous pictorial space. finding order […]. regarding the surface as an artistic medium. to understand color, independent of its physical quality […] as a fundamental pictorial value.”
Dominique von Burg