The ‘Collaboration Project’ by Pete Clarke, Liverpool & Georg Gartz, Köln
Ten Years Work 1998 – 2008, Museum Zündorfer Wehrturm, Köln 4 - 25 May 2008.
Pete Clarke and Georg Gartz have been invited to have a ‘Retrospective of Ten Years of Collaboration’ featuring the most recent paintings ‘Rheinwärts’. This series of paintings produced in 2008 is based on in Turner’s paintings and sketchbooks as he travelled along the Rhine and Mosel exploring the German landscape. The drawings ‘Rheinlust’ initially developed by Clarke & Gartz in 2007 compared and contrasted significant works by revisiting iconic places depicted in Turner’s paintings and sketchbooks producing these new transcriptions and re-invented images.
This Collaboration Project by Pete Clarke & Georg Gartz featuring the work – ‘Rheinlust’ was exhibited as a major part of the ‘Die Lange Nacht der Museen’ 2007 [the long night of the museums] when Köln has a celebratory evening for the visual arts organised by the City of Köln and sponsored by the Stadt Review.
This Project will be further developed by the research of an appropriate North of England Journey by Turner in late 2008.
It must have been one of those days. The water of the Rhine appears mysteriously dark green when the flood streams carry the force of melting ice from the mountains. Bold brush strokes correspond to the water’s current. A slate grey rock rises above it. One on which the famous Riesling wine grows. We recognize at the same time geological structure and a sublime landscape. Above all blue, a blue which suggests glimpses of hope like the blue flower associated with German Romanticism? Small delicate traces appear on boldly applied layers of colour, crevices which seem to force their way through the pigment. Almost as if a second layer develops from the structure revealing deeper levels and underlying characteristics of the landscape. Possibly referring to secret myths, which are told about the Rhine.
This described picture belongs to a series of paintings and drawings which originated from the now firmly established collaboration between Pete Clarke and Georg Gartz. The series dates from May 2007 when the two artists traced the famous William Turner who almost 200 years ago travelled along the Rhine. He himself was following in the footsteps of Lord Byron, who in 1816 praised the paths along the Rhine in ‘Child Harold’s Pilgrimage’ and subsequently caused European wide enthusiasm for this landscape. It almost seems inevitable that Pete Clarke and Georg Gartz embarked on this journey, for their research they revisited locations where Turner could have been and worked.
This is Art History alive! It is not merely the joint travels that bring Gartz and Clarke together, underlying this project are formal visual enquiries (soon they will continue to follow the trail of Turner’s journeys throughout Europe!!). In their collaborative work they set themselves the task to investigate particular locations artistically, describing places, determining views, clarifying perspectives – similar to previous projects in Liverpool and Cologne.
Their abstracted paintings attempt to make sense of the world, the viewer is never left alone, and there are always reference points within the play of colour and the finely drawn lines.
As in previous projects the artists explore the theme of the Rhine collaboratively deriving new impulses for their art from Turner’s sense of colour and the Rhine landscape which like no other inspires to dream.
Anke von Heyl, Kunsthistorikerin, Köln