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Gerhard Lang

Press release

Gerhard Lang – Drawing

What do we see as we draw? We look at the motif, a face, a landscape, a cloud or the moon, then at the paper while we apply the pencil, then again at the motif. So we can't look at what we're drawing and the drawing itself at the same time. So we always see, and we don't see at the same time. This irrefutable partial "blindness" has already led many artists to carry out "blind drawings", i.e. to give up visual control when drawing by closing their eyes. Behind this giving up is also the attempt to "approach" the possibilities of pictorial expression, which have, as it were, been culturally buried by learned schemes of representation.

In the drawings that Gerhard Lang makes using his method of "Visus Signatus" (the drawn process of seeing), his eyes remain open, but they do not focus on the paper, only on the motif, thus omitting the constant looking back and forth at short intervals. Nevertheless, as with complete blind drawing, the eye gives up control over what is created on the paper.

In doing so, Lang also picks up on an aspiration that drove many artists and the art theorist John Ruskin in the 19th century, namely whether it is possible to directly depict the way we see. Paul Cézanne was also inspired by this idea and expressed the desire to see the world like a newborn. However, in 1960 the art historian Ernst H. Gombrich pointed out in his book "Art and Illusion” that this overlooked “how tremendous the gulf is that separates the reading of pictures from the sight of the visible world. Simply to equate the one with the other, as Ruskin did, in common with so many nineteenth-century critics, is to bar one’s way to the understanding of representation.”

One could hardly accuse Gerhard Lang, however, of this "blindness". His concern is not about ignoring the knowledge of things, but about the question of how the seeing of a cloud or the moon can be drawn, how the representation of seeing is inscribed in the representation of the motif, as it were. The visible and the invisible or non-visible are not separate areas but mesh directly into each other. The invisible is hidden within the visible.