With the title of How I learned to stop worrying, the Galerie Rettberg will be presenting the artist Raymond Gantner for the first time in an individual exhibition. Gantner’s art is characterised by an intensive focus on various artistic media, e.g. painting, screen printing or photography. This exhibition will concentrate on selected screen prints and screen print collages on paper and canvas which have been created in the last two years.
Already since his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, the artist who was born in Romania has worked with the screen print technique. As the result of his many years of working with this technique, he has continued to develop this method to the point of perfection. In view of his collective works, he displays a diverse reflection with various artistic media which he combines with each other without setting limits for himself, neither technically nor with regards to design.
His art focuses mainly on the critical scrutinisation of everyday viewing habits as well as the deconstruction of reality. Much like a prism, Gantner breaks down the reality into its individual fragments and combines them anew in his art works. In many of his works, he addresses political and social themes or personal experiences and memories. Oftentimes, the work’s title already gives clues on the work’s intention-for example, the title of the exhibition referring to Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb from 1962.
His diverse work approach is also intrinsic in the screen prints for this exhibition. The artist resorts to his own photographs and sketches which he removes from their original environment and digitally distorts. Often left behind are only black-white silhouettes which are combined during the next stage via the screen print technique on the image carrier. Abstract and figurative forms in a uniform colour application are added to these contours: Through a careful and precisely-detailed work approach, Gantner transfers filigree patterns and structures from the stencil to the canvas.
The result is an expressionist, almost hallucinatory atmosphere which is created through the contrast between bright, neon-illuminated and dark colour hues.
While all the works initially appear to be abstract, refined, figurative image elements become visible at second glance, which seem like shadows penetrating the purely geometric forms. For example, the sketch of a palm tree forms the main motif of the work O.T. which will also be displayed during the exhibition. It is encircled by repetitive lines and patterns in green, yellow and pink hues. Because the artist superimposes individual colours on top of each other, new colour compositions are created on the image carrier. Through the combination of naturalistic and amorphous forms, he unveils a thematic arch which bridges nature and design.
For the exhibition, an artist’s book was created with selected woodcuts and linocuts from the last two years (40 pages in an edition of 38 works, autographed and dated) as well as an artist’s edition (30 works, autographed and dated).