Matthias Garff

Matthias Garff’s stamp prints are painting created with a different medium. Although similar to relief printing, stamp printing is not actually a printing process for reproduction purposes, but involves manual application of paint to a medium using shapes instead of brushes. A little wooden box is what inspired these works. Discovered at a flea market, it measures 26 x 19 x 10 cm, with practical internal compartments. The box contains a drawer for cut watercolour paper, holders for 5 pots of coloured shellac ink, retainers for some accessories and a date stamp.

The artist has been carrying this box around for some time as a toolbox, and he uses it to document his everyday life in images. The sheets are 10 x 20 cm and the stamped date is the title of the work. However, these notes from the ›walking workshop‹ are not conceived as personal diary entries, but abstractly and emotionally showcase the artist’s study of character and mode, both individuals and groups, and the expression of relationship and singularity.

The serial motifs recur in a strictly specific pattern. There are five towers on each sheet, perhaps five people or simplified creatures, all combinations of the same strictly geometrical basic shapes: square, triangle, rectangle, trapezoid, and all built from five parts: a foot or pedestal, a three-part body and a head, dome or crown—depending on how you interpret the figures. They stand in a row and do not touch one another. However, the choice of shape and colour, the indication of motion and the varying combination of the elements, their physical centre of gravity and fragility reveal hidden influences and emphasise the differences.

The self-chosen, formal restriction of this series of works actually proves extremely flexible in detail. Addition and variation as the creative principle are reminiscent of the blueprint for human life: a genetic code, a matrix and module, and finally of the feasibility principle—almost a facile concept of creation, almost a Promethean act, almost a profession to Homo Faber.
—By Tina Simon     /Translated by Brendan Bleheen
Dr. phil. Tina Simon 
Author and publicist, Leipzig 

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