100 x 100 cm
Oil on canvas
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Walter Meier AG
The work of the painter Gido Wiederkehr (born 1941 in Rothrist, CH) is fascinating because it incorporates the key principles of Concrete Art on a purely formal level. Instead of representing anything, his pictures are autonomous compositions of forms, lines, and colors. They also do not depict perspectival spaces, but instead accept one of the fundamental conditions of painting: flatness. They are also based on a rational concept. When it comes to the effect of their appearance, however, they open up pulsating fields of color in many layers that seem to offer glimpses of sometimes lighter, sometimes darker spaces behind them in which the picture as an object visually dissolves into color and rhythm. Sometimes, the finely fragmented structures in Wiederkehr’s paintings create such intense optical stimuli that it becomes difficult to fix our eyes on individual parts. The rational concept behind the picture is thus transformed into a visual experience that is difficult to grasp rationally.
Similar to when a series of experiments is set up in a scientific laboratory in which several of the parameters must remain constant to reach a conclusive result, Wiederkehr always chooses a square format for his pictures. Each painting has a structure that he builds up with thin translucent layers, sometimes over many months, sometimes even years. However, the fixed parameters of his artistic practice are not there to celebrate orderliness, but rather to provide a framework for experimenting freely and exploring color and perception – something he still has not exhausted, even after a career of more than fifty years.
The earliest of the several works by Wiederkehr in the collection of Museum Haus Konstruktiv is from 1977. The artist, who trained to be an intaglio retoucher and reproduction photographer, began his artistic career in 1966, during the heydays of Op Art, which garnered enormous public attention through exhibitions like “The Responsive Eye” in the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1965. Also at that time, the ZERO artists Otto Piene and Heinz Mack, who had built up an extensive international network, were working with structures and light art and were interested in the optical dematerialization of their works. Together with the Zurich Concretists, these movement are certain to have inspired Wiederkehr’s work.
Wiederkehr taught at the Schule für Gestaltung in Basel from 1982 to 2006. He has also participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and created several public art projects.