With the exhibition by Stehn Raupach at Oldenburger Kunstverein in the summer of 2013 we were able to present the works of a painter who clearly strives to attain a quality in his paintings that is now otherwise all but lost.
His work is sensitive and absorbs the viewer in an oddly sublime way. The reduced color palette and figuration, through which his paintings seem intent on evading our attention, are striking. Stehn Raupach sounds out the transitions between conscious and subconscious. Yet this is of course a crude oversimplification. As the artist himself once put it: “The brain doesn’t feel itself – it doesn’t know itself. It hasn’t the faintest clue.” Or: “Seeing and addiction should suffice – for the most part.” Or: “Nothingness can have a go, too.”
The current exhibition at PPC showcases new developments in the artist’s work. Alongside the theme of the empty chair, in which perceptions are blurred through the use of a very subtle technique and an inner unease is formulated that gives rise to a quite tangible shift in emotional state – works from this series were incidentally also exhibited in Oldenburg –, his “Kreuzserie” (cross series), the result of a highly concentrated painting process, is on view. It blends seamlessly into a meditative notion described by Raupach as: “It’s not important that I feel, but how I don’t feel.”
This process can also be traced in the mosaic and paper works, while he finds a new mode of expression with the material paper. Paper plays a prominent role throughout the exhibition in the shape of index card ruling: as framing, horizontal strips, primer or purely by itself, as subject matter. Even as he approaches the difficult topic of further developing his work, Raupach remains true to his approach, based on an introverted search and allowing the painting to assume an existence of its own.
I see his paintings as defining a distinct psychogram of the present age. I am certain that they – as painted, artistic expressions – belong to the important tendencies of the art of our time.