What is painting? What is a painted picture? An illusionist surface? Or a thing? A presentation, description, narrative? Or a system, model, symbol? An image, reproduction, treatment, distortion? A copy, quote, montage? An expression? An invention?
Art manifests itself in questions. It arises from a questioning position. Every new area of art leads to new hypotheses, invents methods and rules, and creates its own speciﬁc categories. But it never provides answers. This is because the questions are not necessarily looking for answers, which could possibly even put an end to the process of searching! Instead, the questions act as guidelines for the search itself.
Painting formulates this search in a direct manner. Painting involves thoughts, feelings, reﬂection and temperament coming together for a single act where form and content directly and inseparably determine the end result. Initially, technique is merely potential, a dormant vocabulary, which is only brought to life by the requirements of a given painting. Equally, consideration of the changing discourses of the art world only becomes valuable to students when it is related to their own work.
For this reason, the study of painting should primarily develop the individual students’ originality: their ability to engage in introspection and reﬂection; their ability to actually claim for themselves and for their work the supposedly widespread individualism in the context of a society characterised by conformism; and their ability to ﬁnd, invent and develop their own tools and forms independently of the conﬁnes and challenges of art practice.
This course of study is thus mainly a process of clariﬁcation. However, clarity is not achievable, as art is never something clear but is instead inherently unclear. In certain respects, it is the forming of something that is uncertain by methodically emphasising this very quality. It is a puzzle that cannot be resolved outside of itself.
Prof. Ute Pleuger
‘Hermes’ building, 3rd ﬂoor, R. 402
Hermesstraße 5, 06114 Halle