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Bernd Koberling, “Memories of Water: Autumn 2010”

Stockholm, 18.11–19.12  2010

Bernd Koberling (born 1938) has, with his abstract and colorful expression, had a prominent place in the German art scene for more than 40 years. In the 70’s he took part in the Junge Wilde movement, which, during a time dominated by minimalism and conceptual art, instead indulged in expressive painting with intense colors. This expression has been what Koberling consistently devotes his art to continue explore.

The Berlin-based artists have always been drawn to visit northern latitudes for painting, first to Lapland and the north of Norway, and since 25 years back to the isolated valley Loðmundarfjörður on Iceland. Here, he has fully come to grasp the abundant freedom of outdoor painting and master its conditions. Today this valley is his second home, to which he often retreats from the pulsating city of Berlin. Koberling creates in the open air, surrounded by the stunning landscapes of Iceland. – “For the utopia of space that is important for my work, I find a more adequate dimension on Iceland”, the artist says.

Although the environment may seem idyllic, the up to ten-hour long sessions take place under quite rough conditions and the paintings are often processed over a long period of time. Until considered ready, session after session, the paintings are left outdoors in damp conditions. This, almost organic process, later continues once back in the studio in Berlin. The self-developed technique which Koberling is adopting was introduced in 1995, as he began to paint with diluted acrylics on aluminum or wooden panels primed with gesso.

The artistic expression of Bernd Koberling is born out of the ongoing conversation he has with nature’s own world of ideas. The paintings are as extension of the Arctic vast expanses, but instead of depicting their landscapes, Koberling is capturing their essence in a flora of his own painterly associations. He says:  – ”I draw from nature but translate that which is seen and experienced into my own form language.” To this, an additional dimension is added by the recurring use of onomatopoetic titles, and by his main verse: color.

Koberling’s compositions capture the gazing eye, pulling it into a world of color and movement. Here, it will find basic elements in conflict with each other; a pastel landscape penetrated by a red awl, or a bright void penetrated by a strobe-like line extended over the image plane, color fields that in one moment rests in stillness, while in the other is twisting and turning, like a dazzling microcosm. Spending time in the wilderness is said to raise an understanding of how nature’s fundamental structure is both reflected and merged with the structure of the human essence; if this is true, then Koberling is depicting this relationship like no other.

Bernd Koberling has since the 60’s been exhibited at museums and art galleries worldwide. In 2006, he was awarded with the Fred Thieler Award for his oeuvre and his contribution to the development of German contemporary painting. In Sweden, Koberling has been introduced at a number of times, at Malmö Konsthall in 2001, and most recently at the Nordic Watercolor Museum in 2005. It is with great pride that Galleri Andersson/Sandström now presents Bernd Koberling’s first solo exhibition in Stockholm.