Some abstract (graphic) object-paintings and multilayered prints
serigraph print by Mads Westrup
– a small note concerning the picturesque work of Mads Westrup
“... He he he he and he and he and and he and he and he and and as and as he and as he and he. He is and as he is, and as he is and he is, he is and as he and he and as he is and he and he and and he and he. ...”
Gertrude Stein, If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (1932)
If painting: is painting, is painting, is painting – and paintings are painting, is it then still painting? Or has it transformed into an image-form? And thus (once again) comes closer to picture-making? Visualisation! But still without the requirement to represent. But does it matter if paintings are (still) painting or not, if it has turned into/back into being about images? It's too hard to say, but that which should matter is still the time – and thus space – 'in' the work. This, in the same turn, means saying praxis. Praxis as in the labour, the choices and the grips being used to make and produce – something which again revolves around use value–, or that which is drawn out in the ‘proces’ of dealing with something and in this way of being involved in work-ing. The practitioners ’greb’ – or ‘måde at greje på’ – as it can be put in Danish. Let’s try to say the grips – the grips of it –, here.
I haven’t actually seen the paintings – or are there also prints in this room that you, our dear viewer, is standing in? There should also be a lot of visual joyousness… although I don’t know this. I’ve only seen pictures: digital pictures of the pictures, and prints. But I have been talking to Westrup about it. Both the work and the way of working. Earlier when I’ve seen his works I’ve held that they almost automatically put forward questions about these kind of problems: what is an image, and how does images work on us.
Still the images or pictures, and/or pictures, brought forth in the context of this text acts like paintings. And this might be a point in itself? Because what is this thing about images or pictures that act? And does it always have something to do with the (concept of) time in the work? I don’t mean labour-time, the ‘hours’ put into doing it, but rather time understood as a kind of form and forming.
Westrup’s paintings seem fast to me, although he says he’s going in a different direction. So can you trust a painter? Why should we take his/her word for it? Could he/she ever know, before some time after the thing – the whole affair that is – is over and done with? In this case the practitioner says that there is an after… anyhow, they still seem fast to me, even though there might be more labour time and more layers now, but then again – I’ve only seen these pictures as reproductions. To me the work of Westrup first of all stands out as cartoonish, play- and cheerful. Being silly and charming, without trying too hard, it can seem fun and dead serious at the same time. Why this is so, is not such an interesting question here, but on the other hand how it seems so might be. From my point of view it looks this way since the seeking of a limit seems to be the focus of much of the work. Not seeking limits in order to be able to cross specific ones, or to do something beyond them, something new. But more as an investigation, being caried out in and of itself, asking where and how this or that thing ‘is’ – or rather how it seems to be.
When I asked Mads how he worked, his answer was related to what he did at this moment in time, and he replied: “abstract object-paintings”. I now come to think of Philip Guston. I’m sorry but that’s where we both start and end this time. In comparative memories, written history and references, unless there’s something that you would like to add, Mads?