Manifesto: Critical Paintings! (Kritikbilder)

The future of painting lies in its critique!

1 In media terms, artists are increasingly marginalized by the significance accredited to art criticism, curatorial concerns, and to museum policy. Those in charge of the appraisal and description of art have gained greater relevance than the artists themselves. What can be done? Painters, you will need to become adept at text processing! Seek to counter the textual critique with a painted one! The art criticism of today shall be the art of tomorrow!

2 The found object contains veracity: every painted text is a faithful quotation taken from the critical discussion of works of art. The author’s anonymity ensures that this inquiry is both content-oriented and unbiased. Hence, the critical painter pledges that he will at no time simply concoct such a critique (at the very most heightening its impact) and that he will under no circumstances reveal his sources.

3 Critical Painting considers itself a bastion against the hysterical image production of the globalized media- and art industry; an insurgence of painting as the archetypical expression of art.

4 Critical Painting is basic, rough, meagre, ‘handmade’ in the most positive meaning of the term, and it relies exclusively on ‘old-fashioned’ materials that refuse to conform to the merchandising constraints of the high-tech establishment.

5 Text supplies the central pictorial element and the typefaces are, by necessity, plain and unadorned. Legibility constitutes the single typographical requirement, even where it - quite intentionally - demands considerable effort on the part of the viewer.

6 The composition may contain representational elements though their visual weight should never exceed that of the text.

7 Critical Painting addresses the independent viewer: This individual no longer hungers for representation. The insertion of the text into the framework of the panel painting has the capacity to produce in the mind’s eye a panel painting that is entirely personal. In the absence of the pre-determined representation the individual’s personal store of pictorial experience provides the single point of reference.

8 Critical Painting addresses the dependent viewer: The subtlety, both in terms of content and language, of the value judgements integrated into the painting ensures the constancy of its interpretation and, therefore, the stability of its value in the face of rapidly changing trends. The independent appraisal of art has finally become superfluous.

9 Painting is not dead, it has just started to smell.

10 Varnished paintings for unvarnished art!


Endlicher, 2001