polyphonic and playful

Johannes Oberthür

There is something about all this interwoven tonality that makes you want to smile. The above painting is called ‘Lösungsvorschlag’ which roughly translates into ‘proposed solution’. The sheer bombardment of colours suggests that you’re dealing with a gentleman who knows his chromatology inside out. Otherwise, one could not bend the rules to that extend. Here you have complementary-, compound- and triad palettes all jumbbled up. From a colour-theoretic point of view, of course, this artifact ought to be equally impossible and obnoxious. Instead our senses are being delighted.

You also notice these seemingly parallel lines which are taking you for a walk. For the erudite art aficionado, this resonates with the famous quote by Paul Klee. However, this is more than a brisk walk. If these elements are driving dual carriage ways, they are driving ‘italian-style’, cutting in on each other, and colliding with sensational and cinematic side impacts. The result is a series of pointy wedges that make you pause as if they were punctuating the rythm of prose.

There is no language for this other than the art itself

It has an impact that you can’t quite explain, and maybe that is okay if we let go and accept it as such. Mark Rothko’s zones of colour almost emit light even when they are dark. The turpentine burns clearly shimmer away at the elusive contours.In the same respect, the recent work by Oberthür has a life on its own. Granted, the two artist have very little in common, except that their work defies logic. And why not just enjoy it, regardless. After Wittgenstein did a u-turn on himself, he was very conscious of the fact that our language limits our thinking with its imposed syntactical structure.

About the artist

The artist works across the media of installations, painting and what he terms ‘objects’. The latter is sculptures with an undercurrent of tongue-in-cheek minimalism.

Dr Johannes Oberthur is an amalgamation of several pursuits. He is first and foremost an artist, but he is also a philosof, author, and lecturing art professor known and respected in the German-speaking parts of Europe and Italy. He was born in Kassel in 1959, and now lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He is represented by Galerie Köppe in Berlin.