German artist, Joachim Bandau returned to New Zealand to show his new watercolours created during his residency in spring 2009.
Originally known for his sculptural work, his layered, black pigmented paintings entitled Black Watercolours began in 1983.
Important to his work is both the process and his tools. With slow precise brushstrokes, using Japanese goat hair brushes, he overlays transparent washes of black watercolour in horizontal and vertical directions. The process is lyrical and meditative. Successive applications of transparent paint are evocative of sculptural stacks. The stacks dissolve into one other making his materials hard to define: they are veils of fine fabric, photographic film, dark shadows and architectural forms. The watercolour builds up to create deep voids; mesmerising spaces, playing tricks with our depth of field. Other works create movement and tension as the layers are applied with less order and spaces fan out, open up and topple down.
The works also take on the dimension of time. He submits to a long and complex ritual of painting and drying, repeated many times and lasting several weeks or even months . His works are created in series with individual watercolours part of a larger idea.
Whilst in NZ he gave us insight to his thoughts and processes:
“I allow complete autonomy for each step of my working process. All steps interact with each other whilst transparency remains paramount. As the overlapping process of the layers continues new and unplanned happenings emerge and the dialogue between myself and my work starts, very often the work itself guides me.
Key elements of my paintings are space and line. At the beginning of the 20th century Wassily Kandinsky wrote about the new modernist ideas: ‘from the point, to a line, to the space’. In my work the exact opposite happens; the line exists because of the painted spaces that form its borders. Or: two spaces meeting on an exact border, form the new accentuated line”