white black red gestural art

white black red

white black red: three colors give the title of the picture. Why in this order?

weiß schwarz rot: kunstwerk von friedrich zettl

As in most of my work, these ideas from Chinese painting and calligraphy also flow into them.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out a special aspect that is of essential importance for the understanding of East Asian art: the importance of the non-represented, the nothing, the white.

A premise placed on the painter in Asian art is: respect the black but adore the white.

While we as western viewers usually have the black (line, surface in focus when we look at a picture, the Asians attach great importance to how well the artist knows how to leave out white surfaces, to give them meaning, and to artfully set them).

It’s relatively easy to create dynamics with your brushstroke. Creating dynamism with the part that you don’t paint is an exciting challenge to hear.

More of this kind can be seen in gestural abstraction. related posting. painted calligraphy



10 responses to “white black red”

  1. rebecca s revels avatar

    I started to walk away without commenting but this called me back. I love how one can see life, movement and emotion in this.

    1. zettl.fr avatar

      Thank you so much, Rebecca, for your kind words! I am really happy to hear you like it. It means a lot to me.

      1. rebecca s revels avatar

        You are very welcome. Usually dark colors don’t appeal to me but this one has energy all its own so there is that 😉

  2. Martha Kennedy avatar

    When I was 8 I was a disrupting presence in my 3rd grade class. My teacher had recently returned from Japan where her husband had been stationed for a few years. To keep me quiet, she brought some Japanese prints to school and put me in back of the room and told me to draw these pictures. I was happy about that (but I didn’t learn subtraction). Some of that philosophy of spatial relationship sunk in, that the actual image isn’t even there without the area that’s not the image.

    1. zettl.fr avatar

      Yes, Martha, and this is just the very basics. We in the West make a distinction between the existent and the nonexistent. In one of my lectures I discussed 5 types of non-existent in the Chinese (Asian) perception. But I’m not sure if all of the listeners really understood everything 🙂

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        It would be great if you decided to post something about this. I would be very interested.

      2. Cally Blind avatar

        I’d love to learn about it as well!

  3. zettl.fr avatar

    This I will do. It will take a while, because it is a long treatise and I first have to think about how I can bring the whole thing into a short form and yet touch on the essentials.

  4. zettl.fr avatar

    Thank you, Cally Blind, for your interest! Too many opens tasks at the moment but I will try to get the article done soon. As mentinoned it will be based on a lecture I gave. My impression then was that quite a few listeners did not entirely understand what I was talking about. Indeed it is a difficult topic because of cutural differences. But I will try 🙂

  5. […] More of this at gestural paintings. Portfolio | white, black and red […]

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