Mills and More, 2012

oil on canvas, 140 x 200 cm

‘The TV programme is like a water tap: it can be can turned on and then images pour out’, says Stefan Ettlinger (born 1958) describing his raw material; ‘You can really find everything there’. Following the principle of zapping, he grasps scenes and fragments out of the pictorial stream of TV channels, videos, glossies, post cards and his own photographs. Human beings, houses, street scenes, Märklin tramways are assembled, tableau-like, into an enigmatic panorama. On the canvas, which is set in a horizontal position when being painted, the thin egg tempera homogenises what does not belong together: self-organising gestures devoid of any will to an expressionistic style. Ettlinger’s pictures are composed of conflicting props and splinters of a perceptual world distracted by the flood of images and so depict visual order as a process, as something that always comes into being anew, against the regulatory insinuations of the photographic document. His painting reminds some of Edward Munch. The achieved effect could perhaps be called Kafkaesque, less in the nightmarish existential sense than in the dream-like combinations of receding and grotesque perspectives.

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