Butzer, André Untitled, 2008
oil on canvas 260 x 340 x 5,5 cm © A. Butzer Courtesy: Courtesy Galerie W. Baudach, Berlin Photo: Henning Rogge

About the work

"As with the disembodiment of his motif figures, Butzer also carries out a painterly de-spatialization on the color level, which acknowledges neither depth nor gravity in favor of the uniform surface coherence. Nothing predominates, but is equally measured until all pictorial elements fit together in a balanced way. The primary colors [...] can thus almost completely withdraw. Their effective power is not quantitative, rather it is the fortified ground on which the picture is created. The substance that provides the reference keeps itself in order to allow the pictorial structure to appear from its own rest and from the edges: for the shifting of its mixed colors green, pink, orange or purple as well as for the moving swings, breaks or jumps of its contrasts.
Butzer connects these spaces around and in between with her own space, so that the impression of the entire body of color only comes about when one sees them together in this way. In the process, something astonishing happens. In the white light of the picture grounds, color and line no longer remain separate. Linear bands and colored surfaces merge into one another in a reconciled way. [...] The contour itself becomes two-dimensional in its "area-forming" execution, and the extended surface color grasps itself self-confidently within only its moderate limits. If the line is surface-forming, the color becomes form-forming out of itself. At the same time, the light white in "Untitled" (2008) lends the silhouettes, spots, and ornaments a lightness in which they float up into an impenetrable wall of color. Balanced like a mosaic, in which even the smallest element plays a decisive role in the whole structure. Butzer takes color and line to their limits. In this opposition, however, they knock each other over. What until now seemed irreconcilable, static and movement, surface and line, form and dissolution, he draws together in a single colorfulness that carries these extremes within itself. This colorfulness is the actual carrier of the pictorial narrative. [...] The own destruction or creation happens to it and equally it witnesses it. It experiences and witnesses itself at the same moment. In order to keep the picture on this threshold, it requires an incessant taking of measure, which sees through all distortions and disruptions to the relational context. A clarified thinking from the color. From there Butzer poses the question of the "character" of his pictures.

The pictures show their colorful design. The color is the venue of the picture. If the individual elements are also still so contrary to each other, in the total order they are included immovably. Each form, movement or color Butzer puts to the extreme, to balance them from there, so that they bring each other equally to a unified whole."

Christian Malycha: Sein und Bild. in: André Butzer 1994 - 2014., Kerber Art, 2017, S. 245 ff.

About the artist

born 1973 in Stuttgart
lives and works in Berlin

After studying for a short while at the Merz Akademie in Stuttgart, André Butzer became a member of the "Akademie Isotrop" from 1996 to 2000. This is a group of artists made up of Hamburg students and self-proclaimed professors who see themselves as an alternative to an institutional state art academy.

In his fictional and exaggerated pictorial worlds, he mixes European Expressionism with American popular culture and refers to this style as "Science-Fiction Expressionism". Artists such as Paul Cézanne, Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, Walt Disney and Henry Ford serve as his models. However, Butzer also masters pure geometric abstraction, in which reduced, simplified shapes against a monochrome background merge into a composition.