Supple and with their backs to the wall, they can look for connections to other players (Diana, 2018. All sculptures: colored cotton, foam, MDF) while elegantly avoiding obstacles. Or they occupy space calmly and defiantly, only to then seem insecure in light of their own brashness (Nenner - Karambolage, 2018). A character on the sidelines seems more related to the space than to the other elements, as if he did not quite trust his own belonging. He integrates characteristics of other players in his own being instead of openly showing interest (Chesterfield, 2018).
The combination with Bär’s painting results in a framework that toys with distance and proximity. It’s often not entirely clear which object, which image, inconspicuously mimics characteristics of other players or reacts aggressively towards them. Meanings are quick at hand and gone just as easily. And just like Schneidewind’s sculptures, Bär’s images defy the construct of unambiguity.
Bär encounters the forms that he negotiates in his paintings in the stream of digital imagery: instagrammable, or far beyond what other’s perceive at all, iconic or incidentally snatched up. An intuitive glance decides what the starting point of the drawing will be, which serves as the foundation for his works. On the iPad, organicallyshaped graphic elements are developed, which will soon reappear on the canvas. At first glance, they are peeled off as abstract symbols from a blackcolored surface. The associations this awakens offer no answer to the question of whether they are intentional or registered by the viewer. But this is how it should be in a game without rules, endless semiosis. On second glance, the graphic forms momentarily become figures in a dancelike, communicative scene (Vision, 2018, like the others: oil on canvas), objects, morphologically caught between steadfastness and overflowing, gestures full of character (Pokal, 2018), or as elements of an urban landscape, a system of streets and paths (Traffic, 2018). They evade attempts at concrete thought, and upon the third glance, the recede as enigmatic shadows in the background. There, they form a kind of frame, because they direct attention back towards the patches of free canvas revealed by the characters, which Bär has dyed and painted over. In this material twodimensionality, landscapes and figures start to appear, animated by contrast: between the fixed, stencillike black frame—and the play, the intuition, and the instability of color that this frame makes possible.
In the friendly symbols, signs always shimmer with a message that you look for. It doesn’t matter whether it is actually there, what is decisive is the character of the presumed reference. With their work, Manuel and Christian find their way through confusing worlds of images without getting caught up in the imperative of explainability. Like captivated hikers in a landscape, they encounter digital and analog forms of the everyday. They draw on sensually experienceable positions, idealize the banal, and strategically play with chance instead of despairing in the face of it. This way of capturing images one has seen through renewed images is neither ironically fractured nor critically distanced. Hardships and brutality are indeed not negated, but suspended in a symbolic structure that shows the possibility of beauty. A postironic, almost romantic gesture.
[[Text: Eva Finkenstein]]