Xerxes Ach – Secret Colors

On a first glance, Xerxes Ach, who was born in Esslingen (Germany) in 1957, paints monochrome colour compositions. The artist has dedicated himself to the colors. Mixing the colors is an important part of the artistic process. He experiments with the centuries-old technique of egg tempera.

It’s a challenge to mix the colors. They should be as pure and unadulterated as possible from aggressive binders. Yolk make this possible. Again and again he tests their consistency and composition and then applies them layer by layer to the cotton fabric, sometimes up to 20 layers of paint.

Light thus hits a surface made up of different materials, is refracted in a variety of ways and creates abstract images imbued with a mysterious glow. These light phenomena embody a unique microcosmos, an unfathomable universe that, looking at it, lets one forget time and space. The painting of Xerxes Ach makes us aware of how sensitive we are to colours and how colours affect us.

Although not directly visible, Xerxes Ach uses photographs as a basis for his works. He collects newspaper clippings and book illustrations of remote places with deserts and seascapes. However, he is not fascinated by their local situation, but rather scans them for their colour scheme and colouristic atmosphere, ‘extracting’, as he calls it, their colour and compressing it into energy. He paints mental images that are – even if triggered by external stimuli – essentially rooted in his subconscious, taking on a suggestive reality when brought to the canvas. Above all, he reacts to colours and the atmosphere they create, and is interested in how colours change when they meet different lighting conditions, materials and surface structures. His works are reconstructed memories of a colour experience or mood only the artist is privy to. It is this volatility of life, the fleetingness of mental events and the exploration of intuitive, sensual insight that is reflected in Ach’s works again and again.

For Xerxes Ach, painting is the physical materialisation and coexistence of different colours. The effects of their interplay create visual experiences that seem more tangible than what is physically there. This brings us to the ‘outside’. What effect do the paintings have on the beholder? Depending on the individual’s visual experiences, they transform sensory stimuli into aesthetic ones. The viewers lose themselves in a mental experience as they delve into a world of desire and longing.

“My painting is primarily about stimulating the senses exclusively through colour, to discern subtle visual experiences as well as materialization and visualization through painting’s limitless possibilities.” says Xerxes Ach about his work. The artist extends the monochrome concept, because he uses several colours to create a monochrome impression. With Xerxes Ach, a colour field is anything but a flat, impenetrable surface. It is a delicate web of swelling and vibrating opposing tones of colour and compressed time.