Harald Plattner: The Invisible Viewer

Harald Plattner: The Invisible Viewer

Vijion Art Gallery is pleased to present 'Harald Plattner: The Invisible Viewer', the first online exhibition of the artist with the gallery. Harald Plattner’s paintings here explore the evocative worlds of protection and surveillance. His paintings tell stories of young people, mostly girls, who look directly at a viewer and both return and confront the gaze. The canvas he makes are nearly filled by the person depicted as if they own this pictorial space.
Plattner approaches his subjects closely and looks for eye contact with his models. He then ruthlessly exposes these people portrayed to the public eye and thus questions both the alienation and self-determination of his subjects as well as viewers.
What may appear a superficial casualness and unintentional observation depicts moments that reveal more than what is at first sight apparent. A continual bird’s eye view creates the impression of painted video stills drawn from a surveillance camera. There is a disturbing silence, akin an atmosphere found in moments when you realise that someone is still in the room, an invisible observer. A viewer sees and feels this uncanny invisible gaze immediately. Time stands still and one becomes aware they are under observation in a space–the space of the painting as well as the space it occupies in a room. This complex web of perception, observation, and self-observation plays the central role in Harald Plattner’s paintings.
Harald Plattner, Untitled, 2010
Far more so than in the Big Brother pictures, Plattner eschews any ambience here. The surrounding space almost does not exist, the gaze rests solely on life in its fleshly form and looking here is a visceral experience. A penetrating, frontal view of great weight and seriousness is a consistent principle in these bodily images. There’s no laughing.
Harald Plattner, Upside Down, 2020
The observed are also observers themselves and in this oscillating feeling lies the tension that animates the experience of the artist’s work presented here. In some of the women’s representations one can sense how they attempts to elude the painter and resist his gaze and want to show their nakedness. This alternation of withdrawal and revelation reflects the longings, desires and doubts that structure our moment and its media.
Harald Plattner, Challenge, 2011
Harald Plattner’s paintings here contain an application of colour where the contours more frayed, the brush strokes more gestural and colour is freed to become independent. Painting itself becomes the subject with its impulses still stemming from reality, emotion and experience. This is a fast painting, but also controlled in the play of colour and mark. The skin sometimes turns green or blue, but the vibrating life of the colour is ultimately controlled.
Harald Plattner, Big Brother, 2009