"Forging a perceptible thought-provoking object"

Friedrich Eigner

Brushed traces of gold in a black night. Perilously-curved parallel shadings. Flaring bundles of lines, lost in space. Fascination, amazement, overpowerment – ever increasing with prolonged exposure. Then the return of one’s senses: How to explain it? Where to place such art?

Classical art history has developed a model for expressing an interest that exceeds a mere personal expression of taste (such as like/ do not like), through use of a systematic three-step procedure. First step: describe, secondly: determine the theme (iconography), thirdly: determine the meaning (iconology). Will this bring us closer to understanding Fritz Eigner’s works? Let’s see:

First: His works are panels, polymer/oil on glass. Ring-shaped or ribbon-esque structures loom on a monochromatic black backdrop. They consist of parallel, bright lines. The interesting part is the variance of the lines in intensity and colour; they overlap, change direction, they are interrupted – and they seduce us into taking a closer look.

Secondly: Just black, no constraints, no range. The non-colour is anchored in our visual mind as a fixed term. Black means darkness, the absence of light. Black is Hades, the underworld. In this darkness, from the depths of the black space, a light appears. In our culture marked by Christianity a golden shine symbolizes holiness, a metaphysical reality, a metaphor of promise. Modernism, however, has disenchanted the world: Black, from an astronomical perspective, denotes unlimited space, the vastness of the universe with its countless luminaries. Thus, are these objective depictions of ring-shaped gaseous nebulae or comets’ orbital paths? Either is feasible. The bottom line is that a definite determination of the theme is not possible.

Thirdly: Right or wrong, good or bad, the holy or the endless empty space – is that not also typical for our time? Historic art works were created within fixed reference frameworks, usually the bible or mythology. Contemporary art has detached itself from this. Today we can no longer avail ourselves of binding explanatory models. Space is limitless, and we are lost within.

Perhaps it is only activity, an individual choice from a myriad of possibilities, which can still provide a sense of security: Eigner’s works preserve the vestiges of creative action. They document the fascinating and yet transient appearance of the individual in space and time.

Post scriptum: To understand contemporary art it is essentially necessary to engage oneself with the biography of the artist himself. For Fritz Eigner art only works as an intensive debate, as a struggle against resisting forces. This explains the diversity of his individual groups of work that always change once a problem has been ‘resolved’, the artistic solution to a question found. This also explains the choice of the challenging medium glass, to which usually no colour adheres. How he achieves this remains his secret! The successful outcome of this technically highly complex painting process (corrections are not possible) leads to the development in an irresistible haptic quality, creating the desire to touch. The precious pigment itself becomes the expressive medium, suggesting a velvety depth. The greatest contrast to this is light. Bright and sombre, darkness and light – this is reminiscent of the Old Masters, of the stupendous art created by Rembrandt, by Frans Hals, by Tintoretto. Tintoretto was the first painter to use black-primed canvasses, who painted light as emerging from black. It is perhaps no coincidence that Fritz Eigner keeps a studio in the same city in which Tintoretto spent his entire life – in Venice.

Dr. Karen Michels, Agentur für Kunstverstand, Hamburg