Tobias Gerber, Jos de l’Orme

drawings, cut out drawings, woodcuts

17 January – 14 March 2010

Jos de l’Orme (1962) has applied himself to making woodcuts for many years. Frequently he does not show the print but the wooden plate itself, which is made black first. The representation is cut into it and consequently has the natural, warm colour of the wood. Characteristic are the undulating lines with which l’Orme represents landscapes and animals, but also portraits in which the gouged out lines seem to lie like tattoos on the face. The main work at the exposition is an enormous woodcut composed of several wooden plates, representing a contemporary version of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel. Both are depicted as kick-boxers with boxing gloves, shorts and knee pads. Instead of being the defeated party, Abel enters into the fight against his brother efficiently and self- confidently. Thus the battle between good and evil has acquired a new dimension with an undecided outcome.

Just as Jos de l’Orme’s woodcuts Tobias Gerber’s (Düsseldorf 1961) Scherenschnitte have a graphic character and strong black and white contrasts. Gerber is playing with the phenomenon of the mirror image in a cut-out drawing. The familiar row of little figures cut out of the paper in such a way that they hold eachother’s hands has evolved into complex representations in his work, consciously deviating from exact mirror images. In Katzenstrafe a woman takes a cat by the scruff of the neck. Woman and cat are mirrored too close to each other, as it were, so that new silhouettes are created; it is only in the second mirror image that woman and cat are fully represented. Because of this deviation residual forms arise, making new ornamental figures possible. Apart from the Scherenschnitte charcoal drawings are also shown, sometimes threatening, like the gangster with a machine gun stepping out of a cake. Other representations like Veronika are sensual and mysterious. Here a naked woman is standing in a bedroom, holding a cloth with the imprint of a face in front of her body.