VANISHING POINT, Opening speech, September 26th 2014
Laura Schmidt

You’ve all received this little invitation card. The photo on the cover portrays an artist’s studio. The scene is clearly recognizable: We identify the painting equipment, evoquing the various work processes of an artist. It is Robert’s studio and he gives us a very intimate look into his creative work space. One of the large format painting he most recently worked on hangs on the central wall of the room. But the longer we look at the room setting, the more we feel slightly irritated – the painting eludes concrete visibility:

It is a soft painting. Soft, because an intangible portrait in light nuances of blue, green, ocher and white seem to appear before our eyes. However hard we try to grasp the face, it remains vague and blur as if it was melting behind a thick layer of ice. We want to get closer to the image, but the more we overcome the distance to the painting, the more the figurative dissolves.

The space which is left, turns into a multitude of vibrating fields that charge and electrify each other. Up close, you can discover a complex microcosm of countless colors, layer after layer applied in fine glazes. We slowly lose ourselves in this pulsating space, but as soon as we step back, this microcosm disappears in a blur. If we step back even further, the shape of portrait once again reappears.

In other paintings, Robert adds underdrawings and patterns and experiments with materials like ash and wax. Over the last two decades his interiors, landscapes, portraits and studies have taken an increasingly abstract turn.

I won’t engage here into a formal analysis or categorization of Robert’s body of work.  Instead, we should focus on the idea that has been leading this work: Bringing us to a more conscious way of seeing!

While our everyday perception is shaped by invisible technology and our reality flooded with visual stimulation we constantly have to deal with, Robert’s paintings are a curative treatment in the form of an aesthetic silence.
Slowly and patiently we are brought to question our visual perception. This self-reflection results from the first reflex of irritation and the following ideas and memories brought by emotion. In the end, it is not only about what we see, but about the act of seeing itself.

If we take the time to pause, a rhythmically moving space emerges between the canvas and us. We come closer and then distance ourselves, we blink and we immerse ourselves into this space – into nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

Light is the formative force. Pure pigment gives color its strength. It is light color, not only surface color attached to a concrete object, which makes the paintings equally surface and space. We try to measure the depth of the space and trace its movement with our eyes.

Otto Piene wrote that plasticity can be erased and replaced by rhythmic articulation or “the pulse of color“. This also applies to Robert’s paintings. Depending on how and how long you look at them, they can be open and vast. The color spaces are like energy fields, which are either close or distant or in the process of dissolving. Depending on what the observer focuses on, the areas expand or contract. These counteracting, yet mutually dependent effects, are what makes his paintings breathe. We find ourselves in an indefinable space. The surface appears dematerialized. Everything appears to be suspended, floating and pulsating. Everything seems light. Through the optical mixture of color, light and shadow, the painting condenses into a poetic space-time continuum.

Our eyes determine the intensity of the energy that spreads beyond the picture’s edge. It depends on the act of contemplation. It depends on us.

A small part of a Bosisio always remains mysterious and with it the magic of hope  that not all has vanished into thin air. It’s all here, we just need to look at it in the right way.

Gerhard Richter once said, “Painting is another form of thinking“. Painting is an act of seeing. Seeing also means contemplation. Contemplation means activating one’s body, eyes and mind. If something moves us, we pause and dissolve in the encounter.  

Please take the time to do so this evening.

I am filled with color and light – I breathe, my body pulsates and I am moved. I am deeply thankful, dear Robert, for these moments of poetry and liberty – your gift to us.

Thank you.