Paintings 2021-2022 at Roberts Projects, June-July 2022
LENZ GEERK, Hotel II 2022, Acrylic on canvas 75 x 100cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
INDOLENCE by Rosanna Albertini
and a few words about Geerk’s paintings I received from Alberto Albertini, Milan, Italy
"Tutto assolutamente a posto, le ombre, le nubi attorcigliate e compatte. Le figure ferme fissate nell’istante del fermo immagine attendono che il tempo passi e non passerà mai, così. Attendono, Everything’s perfectly settled, the shadows, the twisted and compact clouds. Figures are still, as if blocked in a photographic instant, they wait for time to pass and time will never pass, so. They wait", AA
To embrace life to the furthest extent is painful. To accept every thing is impossible, we can only let go of the brakes and let our living engine expand as if the body wasn’t an obstacle. The artist placed his mental figures near the water, each on their own, each of them a separate island. The light is dim. Human bodies seem consumed by an inner struggle, as if trying to distance themselves from a reality they can’t control. They look like people who can’t escape from themselves either: by no means can they arise above mediocrity in the modern society. Lenz Geerk doesn’t fool the viewers and maybe this is the reason why his work is seductive.
ARRIVAL … WHERE? In a space that is painted. A space of indolence. With no pain, that’s the original meaning of the word. Are the figures supposed to describe a state of rest, a harmonious tranquillity between humans and rocks, sand, water and mountains? No way. They are still like statues, eyes and faces sucked in into their inner home we will never visit, nor be invited to. Big hands, big feet. They give out the opposite of the lack of feelings: the odd effort of locking the door to any reaction, to avoid rage or complaint.
LENZ GEERK, Beach Couple II 2021, Acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
LENZ GEERK, Beach Couple VI 2021, Acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
LENZ GEERK, Beach Couple V 2021, Acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
We are In a Landscape, not very different from the music John Cage put together under the same title. Tunes for a prepared piano, no vibrations, yet the pleasure of floating, through sounds that move quietly and equal in intensity, is undeniable. Restrained sounds as quiet as the blue and grey and the skin pale colors of Geerk’s paintings. Same pleasure, visual this time. Not only the palette, the background is the same in each of these paintings immersed in silence, on the beach and inside the hotel room. Emptiness has the striking power to make us feel the nonsense we have built around.
LENZ GEERK, Beach Couple III 2021, Acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
LENZ GEERK, Beach Couple I 2021, Acrylic on canvas 40 x 50 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
I keep feeling that all these figures abstracted from the noise and chaos of city life are winging their way out as if flying, like falcons. Blue and gray are the colors of the falcon’s feathers on top of the wings. These painted humans are not asleep. They rest, temporarily. Probably by a lake. Only the lake’s water looks so flat, almost as dense as ink. Sorry, my memory of lakes, the real ponds of water, is intruding. I must bring it in, although I know Geerk’s paintings are far from real places. They give form to an imaginary space where loneliness and disconnection aren’t hidden. The artist, at the same time, doesn’t conceal his love for all those dysfunctional beings. Art connects him to them and us to him. We are the same tribe.
Apparently, the painted figures try not to feel the pain of sharing, every single day, the evidence that our intelligence is killing us. Remember Jochen Gerz? Strange closeness of names with the younger artist from Germany. Jochen Gerz’s questions aren’t far from Geerk’s paintings, either. Jochen didn’t really care of nature: “The trees in our imagination are our trees, and the branch, wet, covered in moss, is the image that returns to us like the prodigal son.” ( Jochen Gerz) “Will our imagination devour us?” “Is the artist going to disappear?” At the bottom, the biggest question: how to share the sense of growth, of freedom from time and space limitations that an image gives out, despite the fact that images reveal an intellectual and emotional link in an instant of time. To accept such contradiction gives to these paintings, made by our artist who wasn’t born when Gerz was screaming to the wind his existential disappointment, the strength of disillusion. The courage to give a presence to an uneasy state of mind.
Yes the end
that’s the very end
Of a lot of things
& all sort of things
That’s the end
We are coming
Here we are
We are coming
There we go
We are coming
That’s the end of art
We are coming
Soundtrack of Jochen Gerz’s video We are Coming, 1980
Arrival? I don’t know. I am sentimental. Beyond words and thoughts, I love the craziness of these painted images, the intentional mistakes that make them a space of freedom, not subjected to the tyranny of reality.
I recognize the sense of isolation and the coat of loneliness during a vacation by the beach, because I like to have familiar things around. True vacation is a vacuum cleaner putting neurons at rest, no more stimulation. Not easy to achieve, but to be turned off for awhile put’s your entire life through a sieve. In one piece Geerk paints a dream; a naked man flying like a falcon, same perspective as Mantegna’s Jesus. That was a corpse. This is an anonymous man, strongly alive. He is not diving.
LENZ GEERK, Falcon 2022, Acrylic on canvas 160 x 120 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Paul Salveson
Yet the artist brings up the idea of packing, of rolling the paintings and getting ready to put them away in a manner that is original and persistent in each of these works: the landscape is a vertical backdrop, painted flat. It is a surface pushing the bodies toward a very close foreground. They don’t look comfortable. When resting in the hotel room, their face is flattened, as if their mind collides with air and body. A small feminine body dives at a strange angle, another seems to dive over a figure of herself, already in the water. It might be my invention. Or my diving into the paintings. You should try, and see what happens.
Lenz sends letters to us, monochrome envelopes with no address, only the stamps have figures. Letters to No One, he says. We could wrap ourselves in their gray and blue and light skin color, and whisper in his ears. No one is all of us.
LENZ GEERK, Moon Couple 2021, Acrylic on canvas 160 x 120 cm Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
LENZ GEERK, Letter to No One II 2022 Acrylic on canvas 45 x 60 cm Courtesy of the artist and
Roberts Projects LA Ca, Photo Ivo Faber
Jochen Gerz, Selfportrait, The Genia Schriber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv University
John Cage, In a Landscape, 59:22 BMG Music 1994