PREFACE CATALOG – FOR GODS SAKE
MALTE CHRISTOPHER BOECKER, LL.M., KUNSTVEREIN KREIS GÜTERSLOH
BETTINA RUHRBERG, MÖNCHEHAUS MUSEUM GOSLAR
Asian thinking is marked by the notion that all phenomena are dependently co-arising and related to one another. This way of thinking can also be seen in the works of Jason Martin. Through his intense study of far Eastern calligraphy and North American minimalism, as well as of the history of monochrome paintings, a body of work has emerged over the years in which opposites seem to be suspended. Instead, Jason Martin explores the space shared by abstraction and figuration, painting and sculpture, by material and ideal patterns of thought. Everyone who opens themselves up to his visual spaces – which are immersed in light and seemingly in flowing motion – can draw close to a meditative, spiritual experience. Using quite economic means, the artist produces combed, almost sculpted colour surfaces. His paintings offer us an inner intensity, clues directing us to an amalgamated spiritual and sensual perception. With this the British artist opens up a space to the beholder for the sublime, for contemplation, for meditation, for the transcendental – concepts that once belonged to the fundaments of the world religions before arriving at a new, expanded meaning in the abstract art of the 20th century. The exhibition For Gods Sake presented Martin with his first ever possibility to do works for a sacred space, which inspired him to push the spiritual dimension of his practice even further. What he has created are highly concentrated works that give an impressive insight into his creative production. The organisers are delighted that apart from the monumental paintings, this exhibition marks the first ever presentation of the artist’s works on paper, which incidentally reveal a wealth of connections with his works in oil and acrylic. The altarpiece for the Apostelkirche in Gütersloh is quite exemplary of Martin’s understanding of an open artwork. Taking as his point of departure a four-pointed cross and Islamic ornamentation, he has devised a rhomb-like form done in blood red paint. The sweeping wave-like lines on the surface of the painting surface produce three arc shapes, which may be read as referencing human proportions. Red as the colour of bodily sacrifice and the basic upward motion toward the heavens permit a Christian reading of crucifix, trinity and redemption. But this is far from settled. Jason Martin interests himself rather for how precisely this work would be read and interpreted in other religious contexts. We would like to thank all who participated in and showed such commitment to the realisation of this ambitious project. Special thanks must go to Udo Kittelmann for his illuminating interview with the artist and his deeply knowledgeable introduction to his work. We hope that all who read and study this catalogue will be rewarded with new inspiration. And we hope that the exhibition will help create a significant new response to Jason Martin’s impressive oeuvre and perhaps contribute to the dialogue between the different cultures and religions.
MALTE CHRISTOPHER BOECKER, LL.M. and BETTINA RUHRBERG
Mönchehaus Museum Goslar 2008