Pop Outside, Hard Rock Inside
EXHIBITION - The Bamberg publishing building exhibits Ralf Metzenmacher. The former Puma design director calls his art 'Retro Art' - an amalgam of pop and baroque. BY RUDOLF Goertler
What should preoccupy one who gives up a well-paid job and a secure career in a company known worldwide and selects the precarious existence of an free artist?
Arrogance? Weariness, perhaps? A gambler? After all, Ralf Metzmacher is honest enough to admit that he regretted sometimes the step of tenured creative manager for an artist entrepreneur. What is a very likeable move, as commonly "dropouts" rave - such in the classical sense, he is probably not - how well it will go by their new life. But, Metzenmacher who was born in Aachen in 1964 didn't jump into the cold water of freedom, it was at least lukewarm. Because he took the trip to the uncertain economic security with a package: a solid education, experience and skills as a product designer, not the least savings.
Pacifist and Humanist
The reward: Use the money for something useful (whereby the man does not say that the Puma years were lost years), the emotions of Arab-born students, for example looking at his paintings from the series "A-Trip-Into-The-Hollier-Than-Thou-Land". Because when engaged art adheres also an image of yesterday, dusty left, gooder sticking, Metzmacher committed to this: Yes, it is his important pacifist and humanist attitude that manifests itself in his works. "Against any madness" is therefore the subheading of his current exhibition at the publishing house in Bamberg/Germany.
Each madness that is important, regardless of which direction. And this is also a possible weak point of his art. When there are dove of peace draped in a series with national flags of North Korea and Israel, Iran and Russia, threatens to blur differences. Israel is not just Iran, if one may criticize his policies. This is the difference: Israelis can criticize the policies of their country in Israel, not in Iran. Prof. Dr. Stephan Kaußen, friend and presenter of Metzmacher says: What matters is the change of perspective, to think about. Also interpreted as the artist himself - he wanted to advertise your understanding of imaging differences to "represent a subconscious reality."
This sounds more difficult than it is. In fact, even unexperienced viewers can read some of the iconography of his large images. Young people for sure as well. Metzmacher creates bright colors and clean lines - that we know of posters and reproductions of Dali, which for decades adorned the walls of the room from growing ups, of rather easy to get to grips agitation of John Heartfield or Klaus Staeck. Of course, behind it is a lot of art historical knowledge, a foxy, allusive design will, united with the most solid craftsmanship and nature of a professional marketing concept.
Because it dominates everything the artist inside out. After an apprenticeship as a mechanic, he studied in Aachen/Germany Product- and Object Design with a focus on painting and drawing. He then joined the German sporting goods company when the economic performance wasn't so well. His retro models became successful, he travelled the world. But it did not seem satisfying to him. In Spring/Summer 2007 he presented his last collection and since then breathes the air of artistic freedom.
Role models of "Retro Art" are once classic still life from the lesser known Spaniard Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) and the Italian Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964). On the other hand, of course, Pop Art artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. On Zurbarán Metzmacher has trained his style and technic. He defines it as a kind of 'Fantastic Realism', which connects it with Warhols serigraphs: The original paintings, oil on canvas, are newly created in advanced printing techniques, and changed in drastically color varieties, signed and framed in baroque-style. He edited Anselm Feuerbach's painting "Ricordo di Tivoli" from 1866, makes the bucolic idyll an image of alienation between man and woman, or humans in general, wired souless hanging on their smartphones. The retro artists is driven to the modern sex ratio. He advocates a "Unequality" but also turns against 'male brutality.' Snails and clams caught in the media house, has always been symbols of femininity that culminate in the 'Crown of Creation'. Metzmacher works carefully, as recently traveled to Beirut for research that fascinates and frightens him at the same time.
Violence and exclusion he criticized as madness, already sees the danger of trivializing the difficulty of making the simple. As a designer he has the maxim of 'reduction of complexity' internalized and uses it as an artistic dictum. So in his '500 Carrots' stucks a label on the appetizing lady, wrapped in the Palestinien flag 'Masada 2010' the mythical mountain of the Jews, Jerusalem is the Golden Gate, a watchtower, shows the "melon princess" hidden lusts.
Provocations he is not afraid of, if, in a 'new holy picture' Jesus (with keffiyeh) pulling the pin of a hand grenade: Criticism of Palestinian suicide bombers, as in "The Inprisoned Angel" Barack Obama appears to be a victim of circumstances. However, the seemingly easy-grab, colorful, pop art has depth. 'Pop Outside, Hard Rock Inside' (Metzmacher). That's it.
Exhibition at the media house of the Frankonian Newspaper, Bamberg/Germany, Gutenbergstr. 1, Foyer, Media and Lecture-garden hall on the first floor.
Opening times Mon-Fri 7.00 a.m. - 7.00 p.m., until May 28.
Lectures 'Retro Art' on Wed 8 May 5.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m., 'Creativity' lectures by the artists
Portrait Photo: Matthias Hoch