An Abortive Attempt at Making Noise
On the work of Manor Grunewald
Manor Grunewald (1985) makes captivating paintings: complex yet clear artefacts, which conduct a visual, graphic and textural dialogue with each other and with the work of other painters. People who know about this kind of painting will remember that a painter like Sigmar Polke had to invent the vehicle of Capitalistic Realism to be able to make what he wanted and that in the early 1980s young American painters had to endure the postmodernist concept of ‘appropriation’ to be able to combine existing images in new paintings. Fortunately, these days you no longer need any references to the work of Jacques Derrida or others to make paintings which develop from an eclectic, collage-like way of observing and working. Manor Grunewald’s paintings suggest an atmosphere. At the same time they reflect the way he experiences the world visually and rhythmically, as exemplified by his proposal for the Young Belgian Painters Award 2011. He plans to make an installation with his paintings so that they partly overlap and in that way question, complement and enhance one another. What he has in mind here is the self-organizing constellation of partly overlapping images we know from computer screens.
Grunewald: I am currently working on several paintings at once. I never used to, but as a result I tended to try and make a ‘real’ work each time and to over-work it. Now it is as if I give less thought to each of them and the paintings are the result of things I have done rather than things I have decided. In this painting, for example, I tried to paint noise, but it didn’t work. Suddenly, however, it brought to mind a reproduction of a painting by Jackson Pollock, which reminded me of the fake granite kitchen worktops which are so fashionable nowadays. I also like black and white contrasts; they remind me of the black and white reproductions in the Artis-Historia books. All those references come together in this work.
- For the Young Belgian Painters Award, I believe you are going to make an installation of your paintings?
Grunewald: Next month I’m going to try out my idea at the Arco Fair in Madrid. I plan to place all the paintings against one wall or even stack them up. Visitors will be given an index on which they will find small, black & white reproductions. The idea is that they try to recognize in the installation the works which appear in the index. I like to arouse curiosity or the desire to look, or to entice the viewer into a voyeuristic relationship with the works. I could also make changes to the installation every day so that it goes on evolving. I don’t mind if there are things people can’t see. From the age of twelve I sprayed graffiti, so I soon got used to the idea that my work could be painted over the next day or that nobody would ever see it. On the other hand, if somebody makes a painting on a train, it travels and is spotted by all sorts of people at all sorts of places. That way your pictures, or a fragment of them, might appear almost anywhere to chance viewers. I want these installations to evoke such seemingly random encounters.
Montagne de Miel, January 20th 2011
Text by Hans Theys