Art criticism – Tatjana Ahlborn

There are few works of art in painting today that can really awaken creative thoughts and dreams in us as Paulus Remmers’ paintings can. His themes range from landscape motifs to nudes and from genre references to religious-philosophical compositions. His landscapes are erotic, the nudes epic. Genre motifs are abstracted and the philosophical improvisations are musical.

These always artfully dignified large-scale paintings, however, do not have features of concrete people or places as models, but are synthesised in a way that illuminates the centre of things. The elements – symbols of the landscapes are so freely played through that they evoke memories of Spain, Portugal, South America. All places where the beauty of the stone body of our planet is revealed. He has managed to transport the element of glowing sun into the tired sleepiness of midday. The earth appears embraced by it, returning its exhaustion and its moisture to the air, as after an act of love.

In his time, it had been Gauguin’s invention to paint the water locally red and the air black to reflect the feeling of “Tahiti”. Paul Remmers goes one step further here. He reproduces the atmosphere and the movement at the same time. He gets by with minimal means: the “arbitrariness” of the colours and by shifting the centre to the diagonal.
Especially in the last works, the euphony of the colours takes hold of us. There is a complicated melody of cold and warm tones fighting with each other, whereby the complementary colours finally win. The artist deliberately refrains from black and white tones. Their mild variants emerge from the centre of the entire colour circle of the “rainbow colours” and thus from within themselves.

Paulus Remmers has developed the mastery of chiseling out colour and making it sparkle. We can derive the resulting spirituality from the old idea of vitrage. That is, the lead skeletons and resulting glass motifs that allow divine light to shine through in their colourfulness. The painter works as diligently and spiritually at the same time as is known from the old masters. He pulverises the basic substances into usable colours, cooks the varnishes and tries to discover new recipes in the process. The artist experiments with marble powder, ash, gold leaf, amber, etc.

He lays the layers of paint on top of each other to achieve the play of light on the surface of the painting. This makes the canvases sparkle, shine and reflect. The painter’s colour palette multiplies the light to encompass even large spaces. These spaces contribute significantly to the co-design of architecture through their true monumentality and decorative effect. Those interested in innovative interior design are thus additionally animated, the style creators receive impulses.

Paulus Remmer’s individual style is distinct. It seems as if he forces the whole volume of his soul into this form. All elements of his decorative compositions are bound to the meaning in the whole. Yet, despite his tendency to abstract the elements, he remains truthful and absolutely sincere, and sensitive and emotive in his expressiveness. His sensitivity overcomes abstraction. Elaborate philosophical exercises are transformed into dreams that are comprehensible and seem close to us.

The artist’s oeuvre has developed in a short time into what we have before us today. In the nineties, broken forms initially predominated. His strangely ingenious “Mask” and “Window” stand as examples of this. These paintings arouse astonishingly anguished feelings, like Picasso’s “Guernica”. From the almost graphically designed painting of the early period, via the intermediate period of the female nudes, which lack philosophical meaning but helped to prepare the decorative works of the present time, he now arrived at the present-day abundance of emotional-philosophical interpretation. The strength of his art is also conveyed to those who are not directly knowledgeable about art, because he addresses them where they can understand him: in the fullness of emotional and dream-related composition. This is a feast for the senses for every lover of colour and ultimately of painting.

Tatjana Ahlborn
Graduate art historian, St. Petersburg