Joachim Bandau returns to New Zealand for an exhibition of new watercolours, his third show at Two Rooms since his residency in 2009. For this exhibition he brings works made in his Zurich studio during 2012 and 2013.
His recent exhibition in San Francisco received the accolade of “effortless perfection” from the reviewer in the San Francisco Chronicle, Kenneth Baker, and indeed the apparent simplicity of these works belies the skill in their making.
These are works where the process is fundamental to the outcome. The artist subjects to a routine that is both lyrical and meditative. Successive layers of translucent black watercolour wash are applied on to paper like veils of fabric or sheets of glass until the image becomes opaque, creating deep voids and mesmerising spaces. Other works seem to have a will of their own as rectangular stacks fan out and topple over. Each single transparent layer acts as a sculptural element to create surface, outline, density and volume.
The process is not instant, there is a long complex ritual of painting and drying, one layer is applied at a time and the procedure repeated many times over a period of weeks, months or even years. Bandau describes the process as a dialogue between himself and the work. Unplanned happenings often emerge with each layer allowing complete autonomy to guide the artist’s decisions. Time and space are recorded in a process reminiscent of the multiple exposure paintings of the futurist movement and in the same way the works capture the energy and emotion contained in their making.