2006 Putz
2006 Putz


PUTZ_02_16.09.25 (35)

Farbintervention [Colour Intervention], 2006. Photo: Joerg Burger


[Colour Intervention]

Colour Space

Magenta wall paint

Room dimensions: 900 x 700 cm

Design 2005, execution 2006

Room: entrance hall

With pink, artists take a position’ (Barbara Nemitz)

Monochrome Alienation

There are few colours that polarize as much as pink. Invariably conspicuous, on the one hand it represents artificial beauty, on the other it is often perceived as ‘shocking’ and hence out of place. Reason enough for OSKAR PUTZ to choose precisely this colour for his decoration of a space in Buchberg Castle, a historical building where it must seem entirely alien. The space earmarked for the artist’s colour intervention is the entrance hall, which simultaneously functions as a crossroads. As such, there are four doors and two staircases: to the living quarters, up to the art collection, down to the library and the cellar. Consequently, there are significantly different levels in the space. Furthermore, the room’s structure also includes four columns, three windows and the entrance door. It would take it too far to speak of a ‘non-space’, but it is an area with few cohesive surfaces. The openings give rise to holes in the spatial structure, like ‘Swiss cheese’, as OSKAR PUTZ puts it. In addition, the space is divided by dominant ceiling arches with geometric stucco lines. However, colours require surfaces.

Whereas a total of five colours were included in the first designs for the decoration of the entrance hall, it soon became apparent to OSKAR PUTZ that only one colour was a match for the ornamentation, the 19th-century ‘scrolls’, of the existing architectural structure: the aforementioned pink. The name of the colour, ‘pink’, is a modern addition to the [German] vocabulary. Purple can be used as a synonym, a word with ancient roots that refers more to crimson. In contrast, ‘magenta’ constitutes a physical term. Rose, most closely related to pink as a synonym, connotes a softer shade.

The colour chosen by OSKAR PUTZ is a shade that cannot be found anywhere else in the castle. Appropriately enough for its artificiality, the wall paint is usually traded under the name ‘e-mail’. The shade might be called ‘action’ by another manufacturer. The product name always seems to invoke a modern lifestyle.

The artist Barbara Nemitz also states: ‘Pink represents emancipation of the burden of reality and traditional norms.’ Just as the collection of contemporary art is surprising in a castle featuring Renaissance architecture, the colour intervention is deemed a refreshing approach that reinterprets the stately character of the entrance area. In certain lights, the space is covered in a blue sheen that admits a mystical or Christian connotation.

OSKAR PUTZ is convinced that an artist given the same commission in the Renaissance would have painted up into the arches. He, however, gives rise to fields of colour. The lower area is monochrome, pure magenta, while the surfaces above are painted white. Yet in the reflection of the colour, the brilliant crimson also suffuses the actually colourless ceiling. It is as though the red wall were shining through the coat of white. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein explored a similar phenomenon in his Remarks on Colour: ‘We could also say, it is a rule for painters: “If you want to portray something white behind something that is transparent and red, you have to paint it red.” If you paint it white, it doesn’t look as though it is behind the red thing.’ Wittgenstein’s interest in the question of space and colour also makes an appearance in the volume of manuscripts Philosophical Remarks, which emerged in connection with his architectural reflections on the Wittgenstein House: ‘It is clear that there isn’t a relation of “being situated” which would hold between a colour+a position, in which it “was situated”. There is no intermediary between colour+space. Colour+space saturate one another.’

(Excerpt from the article by Theresia Hauenfels in Oskar Putz. Farbinventionen, Kunstraum Buchberg 2007; first Wittgenstein quotation translated by Linda L. McAlister and Margarete Schättle, Oxford 1991; second Wittgenstein quotation translated by Raymond Hargreaves and Roger White, Oxford 1975)

First presentation in the context of the exhibition Raumkunst.Kunstraum in 2006

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