When surface and paint meld to form a single structure, the longing for material unity quickly comes to mind, a desire that became an ingrained tradition in twentieth-century monochrome painting over several decades. The same happens with the ALUMINIUM PAINTINGS of Johannes Wohnseifer: centring around a frozen moment of a frozen transformation – and therefore around the methodical formation of image constructions – Wohnseifer’s works build on the notion of translation. They build on the notion of a process that, as the aluminium is anodised, not only fuses the red or black paint with the metal parts found on the sculptures’ surfaces to form a new materiality there, but also implicitly reflects the technical and medial transfer process by which the work was created.
Wohnseifer’s POLAROID PAINTINGS can be understood as an imprint but also a memento of the past, complemented by the medium of photography. They recall a moment when the disappearance from the market of media harbouring a wealth of cultural information and meanings prophesied the end of their very existence. More omnipresent than ever in the nuances of our everyday lives, the polaroid is resisting its industrial disappearance. To this day it preserves the momentary memories of entire generations, compressed into its coloured rectangular form. On the level of the image itself, however, Wohnseifer’s POLAROID PAINTINGS actually challenge their own functional purpose as a social and aesthetic means of documenting (everyday) reality: they present the moment that gave rise to the image through a failed depiction.
Since decades, Johannes Wohnseifer (b. 1967) has shared a passion for typography and design and is interested in the idea of how we subconsciously internalize mundane aesthetics. His artistic mode is a subtle one, taking into consideration the risk of conveying an all too obvious contextual level. „I have always had a problem where text can too easily put an art piece into a specific context. I always tried to avoid this, while still using elements of text within my work,“ the artist, who is a professor at the Kunsthochschule for Medien in Cologne, explains. In his current body of work, bold letters and numerical series are imprinted on cardboard boxes, are sculpturally milled into monochrome canvases. They are passwords, generated in the world wide web, altered by the artist himself. Functioning as a commentary on the omnipresent aesthetics of our virtual safety culture, Wohnseifer’s art makes the idea of a sphere of privacy in the public space more apparent. At the same time, his work expresses a desire to turn a digital abstraction into something humane, to return the digital it into the real, the analogue world.