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Floating Substances by Petra Lemmerz

Ever since she set out on her artistic career, this painter from Düsseldorf has known but a single goal – painting as painting, nothing but painting. No depiction, no representation, no content. Her paintings are abstract and flow along governed by the laws of the act of painting, in both form and method – moulded by processes, developments, courses run. That adheres to physical realities, and part of those are the tools of art such as crayon and pen, brush and tube, syringes and tubs; they shape geological states – powdered, grainy, petrified or fluid. Tools, too, are alcohol and paint, acrylics and pigment. From them, under the artist’s creative hand, a continual stream of new nuances of medium and colour flows, in combinations, interactions, compositions. They conjure a wide field of uncommon inventions, a dynamic world bursting with motion, flow and the lie given to all and any bounds. (P. Friedrich Mennekes S. J., Consigliere for Contemporary Art in the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture)

In the Biotechnikum at KWS, the artist presents us with a broad spectrum of her colorful series of works.

Video recording of the vernissage - Welcome: Eva Kienle, KWS Board Member - Statement: Michael Stoeber, Art Historian Hanover

Series - In her work, the individual work is always part of a larger whole.

"From the very beginning, Lemmerz's art is based on the concept of thinking in series rather than in individual paintings. If some painters dream of ultimate images, Lemmerz dreams of ultimate series. The series is her great confession." - Michael Stoeber


The heroes of antiquity and ancient Egyptian history are also the subject of three other series of works from recent years, which are shown at KWS, too. They could not have been better chosen.

"Aton" (2020), also mentioned in the titles, was in ancient Egypt at first only a term for the sun's disk, until he was proclaimed the sole god under Akhenaten. He, who warms and nourishes the earth, is now regarded as the creator of the world. The viewer finds this expressed above all in the paintings whose yellow and red color landscapes seem to store the heat of the sun.

The most complex is the figure of "Prometheus" (2020), who stole the fire from the gods and brought it to mankind, and who is considered the originator of human civilization. As punishment, he was bound by Zeus' order and taken to the mountains, where an eagle ate from his liver every day, which kept renewing itself until Heracles freed him. His fate has inspired works by numerous artists and poets. [...]
Petra Lemmerz takes up the theme in her usual pictorial language. It is striking that each painting in her series stages a clash of color and form in which one might see the conflict of old and new order mirrored in the Prometheus myth.


This is something Petra Lemmerz also achieves in the series of works from recent years that she is showing at KWS in Einbeck. The titles of her works, listed chronologically, once again draw on the forms of their production and Greek mythology. However, the painterly gesture in them is even more self-referential, unconditional and expressive than in earlier works. The artist has titled a completely new series "Cambiamenti" (2021/2022).

The artist Petra Lemmerz and Michael Stoeber in conversation | Photo: Julia Lormis

The artist Petra Lemmerz and Michael Stoeber in conversation | Photo: Julia Lormis

2021, <b> Cambiamenti</b> , pigment on canvas, 100 cm x 140 cm

2021, Cambiamenti , pigment on canvas, 100 cm x 140 cm

The change expressed in the paintings is formally inscribed in the title.

[... ]The colors take up vertical sections of varying size. Here, a restrained ocher, a light blue, a dark purple, and a mild yellow interact with each other. They stand in precarious and fragile balance to each other, threatening to lose their equilibrium at any moment which is prevented by the artist's interventions.


This comparison also holds true when listening to Petra Lemmerz talk about the difficulty of beginning a painting. Just as the writer often needs a long time to find his first sentence, so the artist needs a long time before she has decided on a color, where to put in on the canvas, and on the medium she will use, brush, roller or pour. Even though this color may later disappear completely under further layers of paint, it is of outstanding importance for the whole of the picture, since all the others follow from the first placement. So much for the still widespread idea of a supposed arbitrariness of abstract art.

It is also important for Lemmerz to use the whole body when painting. She rarely paints using only her hand and arm. Her painting is more like dancing, which could not be more meaningful. Subject and object, the painter and her painting merge in a symbiotic way. This also becomes clear in series such as "Veil" (2020/2021) and "Serpente" (2021). Their titles, together with the subject matter, indicate a painterly process speaking of veils and veiling or of snakes.

More about the exhibition - Floating Substances


A catalog with illustrations of the works and explanatory texts was published to accompany the exhibition at BiT.

The catalog is available at the Art Lounge in Einbeck. (Tiedexer Str. 20 a, 37574 Einbeck)

Guided tour of the exhibition

On Thursday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m. Michael Stoeber and Bettina Alex will lead a guided tour of the exhibition. The tour is free of charge. Anyone interested can register by e-mail. (The tour has been postponed and was originally scheduled for 07/06/2022).

Location: Kunst im BiT, KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA, Grimsehlstraße 31, 37574 Einbeck, Germany

Registration at kunst@remove-this.kws.com

Zu den Personen – Petra Lemmerz und Michael Stoeber

The artist: Petra Lemmerz

Petra Lemmerz studied philosophy, literature, and ethnology at the University of Tübingen, followed by art history, architectural history, and literary history at the University of Karlsruhe after periods abroad in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Thailand. This was followed by studies in art education, literary studies, and religious studies at the Gesamthochschule Kassel from 1983 to 1988. From 1986 to 1988 she also studied free painting at the Kunstakademie Stuttgart (Prof. Sonderborg, Prof. E. Mansen). From 1991 to 1994 Petra Lemmerz led the nude drawing class at the free art school Schwäbisch Hall, from 2000 to 2002 she had a teaching position for painting at the University of Applied Sciences for Design Pforzheim. 20 years ago she moved from Stuttgart to Düsseldorf and now lives there and in Italy (Castelnuovo d`Elsa).


Artist Petra Lemmerz | Photo: Michael Dannemann

Artist Petra Lemmerz | Photo: Michael Dannemann

Art historian Michael Stoeber | Photo: Julia Lormis

Art historian Michael Stoeber | Photo: Julia Lormis

Art historian and art critic: Michael Stoeber

Michael Stoeber lives and works as an author and curator in Hanover. He studied literature, philosophy and art history in Göttingen, Nice and Hanover. In the eighties he began writing for the tageszeitung and as a radio author for the NDR. Today Stoeber writes regularly for Kunstforum International, EIKON, artist and the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung. He is the author of catalog texts, books and book contributions on contemporary art and photography.

Excerpts from his text for the exhibition were used for this online exhibition.

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