LIBYA / SAHARA – Maybe it has something to do with increasing maturity, that the
enthusiastic longing for the romantic landscape of the 19th
century, which for so long was so dear to me, seems to me to
parallel less and less the inner landscape of my soul. With the
increasingly internalized realisation that life is extremely fragile
and unavoidably finite, there also grows in me, it seems, the
need for efficiency and intensity. Thus, I am increasingly drawn
to the extremes of archaic landscapes. The desert was one
such encounter. Yet, on the other hand, “How was I to work with
it? How could I wrest an artistic work from this landscape which
would match my individuality? The unbelievable perfection of
forms and structures, which can be achieved when shaped by
water, the angle at which the sand has been deposited,
determined with such impressive precision; the often almost
erotic-like play of oscillating, evolving forms, the light before
sunset, casting a spell over everything and forcing one to pause,
breaking off all conversation.
It seemed that nothing more could be added to this.
I did not believe that I could produce anything artistic to compete
with this completeness of nature. My method of painting, which
requires friction with the object of examination, was presented
with no surface on which to be let loose.
What I had seen said it all; in the worst case, it would be profaned
in the world of advertising, using stylish mobiles and posters.
It was not until years later, during my “Artist in Residence” period
at the Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand, that I had the
necessary temporal, spatial and mental distance to find, in a
mixture of opposing painting and printing techniques, a sufficiently
rough form of access to the subject, which was able to avoid
all danger of being either too smooth or too sweet.
Frank Rödel, 2005