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Geometry and sensuality
Thoughts on the works of Lothar Guderian
Lothar Guderian is a master of form. Not only in his choice of materials and tools has he entered new territory. The artist does not create his white, geometric works from wood or plastic, he does not create the depressions of the fine sculptures with a carving iron or chisel, but with patience and skill he builds them up from the surface to the height from precisely cut cardboard. These constructions initially confront us quite concretely – in the form of circular arcs, diagonals, or vertical lines and stripes.
Guderian follows the claim of a concrete, non-representational art, which no longer wants to represent the visible world, but to create something radically new, spiritual: “Concrete art is the expression of harmonious proportion and principle. It arranges systems and gives life to these arrangements by artistic means.” (Max Bill)
Anyone who looks at the works of Lothar Guderian will be amazed at the wealth of ideas with which the artist has transformed this “arranging system” into works full of elegance, tranquility and beauty. Like an arranger, he focuses his attention on harmony, the balance of the pictorial space and the overall aesthetic appearance. Indeed, from strips of cardboard cut with surgical precision, objects are created that become apparitions without representational or nature-like models. They are concrete works of art that make systems and structures visible and no longer point to anything else.
Mostly the artist limits himself to the color white. But this white changes, it reflects the light depending on the time of day, and the cardboard strips that wind like in woven baskets cast shadows and thus strengthen the plasticity of the artworks. Similar to Piet Mondrian, who sometimes also used painted paper and cellophane strips for his pictorial compositions, the artist, who lives in Düsseldorf, relies entirely on the elementary power of geometry, on the clarity of lines, on circular arcs, symmetry and reflections, on vertical and horizontal structures. And he visibly attaches importance to the fact that none of the pictorial elements stands alone – everything is connected with everything else and must fit together in a harmonious appearance.
It is worth seeing how, in the end, Guderian also succeeds in breathing an unexpected sensuality into the geometric cosmos of Concrete Art. One can look at his monochrome structures as if they were precious objects, but one can also touch them carefully and wander through and experience the gentle elevations and depressions of their rectangular landscapes (this analogy is permitted for once) with one’s fingertips.
Even the Zero artist Otto Piene once wanted to feel the mystery of the interwoven steps on a white artwork by Guderian with his own hands. “He couldn’t see very well by then,” Guderian recounts. “Anyway, he had no fear of contact.” And he naturally wishes such impartiality from every viewer of these unique works of art.
– Klaus Sebastian