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Jutta Temp


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The artist, Jutta Temp, was born on July 28, 1935 in Braunschweig. After finishing school, she trained as a draughtswoman. During the fifties, she discovered her great passion for oil painting, watercolours, crayons and mixed techniques. For five years, she studied under the recognized Austrian painter, Peter Preinsberger. Today she lives and works as a freelance artist mainly in the Canaries. Study trips have taken her throughout the whole of Europe. She has received recognition through numerous exhibitions at home and abroad, as well as acquisitions by the Spanish government.

Beatrix Nobis has written about Jutta Temps work:

Spatial Compaction

on the work of Jutta Temp

In a treatise on 'Spirituality in Art' published in 1911, Vasily Kandinsky makes a definitive statement on the nature of painting, to the effect that the integrity of art can only be absolute if 'greater realism' and the 'greater abstractionism', those two antagonists of artistic endeavour, can be combined to achieve inner harmony. This inner harmony is evident within the confines of the picture if form, line and colour, that is, the carriers of the harmonic resonance which create the rhythm, flow and mood of the work, interact together: To Kandinsky, the close proximity to music is much more than the metaphor which he uses to illustrate the problems of the painter. According to his interpretation, the surface of the canvas or paper is a synaesthetic phenomenon, which is not in itself hermetically sealed, static and complete, but which is capable of triggering a wealth of associations and emotions in the beholder. As coexisting forms of expression, language and tone are directly linked to what is illustrated in the picture, its prominence and position, depth of colour and structure. In this way, a work of art is transformed into a comprehensive experience, appealing directly or indirectly to all the senses and involving time, space and the development of the story behind the picture.

With his theory, Kandinsky not only put an end to the age-old dispute concerning mimesis, or the societal imperative for the artist to create an accurate and realistic picture, but he also paved the way for his contemporaries and all future generations of artists to give a free and subjective interpretation of a visual idea. The 'subject' could be abstracted from a reality, which previously had to be precisely drawn and accurately dimensioned, making way for individual creative thought and perceptions. Symbolic gesture, or the act by which the imaginary world is placed directly in the hands of the artist, became the primary channel of expression of abstract art. Visual symbols, whether shown as spontaneous physical events or as a complex, multi-layered system constructed by a more protracted process, endow the awareness of the visible world with a quality of reflective and critical inner reality. This simply means that the depth of expression and thus, the quality of the picture is contingent on the personality of the artist and his ability to translate spiritual and mental processes into visual imagery.

Like all abstract artists, Jutta Temp also bases her visual imagery on the ability to convert perceptions into visual symbols, which are communicated to the beholder in their demand for validation and singular message. Her work is characterised by restraint coupled with an intense striving for the unfinished. The complex structures of her drawings and collages develop within the limited space of a 'manageable' background, which does not exceed the physical radius of activity. However, within this radius, there is a very marked desire to avoid any calcification or stabilisation of the elements of form. The edges of the thick, coarse and porous paper, which the artist often uses, remain untrimmed, frayed and jagged. This creates a sub-surface, which is physically tangible and is an integral necessity for the creative process. The haptic presence of the paper forms a bridge between the reality of the picture and the reality of the beholder, blurring the edges between awareness and self-awareness. As a consequence, the picture does not appear as a distant, alienated phenomenon, with a fixed distance to the beholder, but reaches out as a physical manifestation, which is as objective, as it is open-ended. In turn, this openness is underpinned by a process of dialectical exchange with the development of form, extending from the inside outwards, transparent and yet partially compacted. Several sheets of thin, crumpled paper are layered over each other, thereby allowing same glimpses, but concealing other areas of the picture, so that there is just the merest suggestion of what lies beneath. The paper is often tarn, suggesting its coincidental use as a creative medium. Frequent use is made of newspaper cuttings, where the odd ward or fragments of a phrase may still be decipherable. This deliberate choice of the haphazard produces a kind of absurd prose and an ironic challenge to the beholder to look for information, which must ultimately prove useless. However, the importance in terms of awareness of these broken fragments should not be underestimated: the attention is drawn to the written ward, imperceptibly guiding the eyes and focussing the sight, giving the surface depth of the picture much greater profundity. The associations generated by the typographic elements are anchored in the consciousness as a potential verbal commentary on the structure of the picture, above all, as an adaptation of different methods of discovering form and colour. Reality as an element bound by time and space enters the picture only in the form of the distilled quintessence, which has been carefully prepared by the artist.

By tearing, cutting and layering the material, which is occasionally supplemented by glittering fabrics and other assorted bits and pieces, Jutta Temp establishes the foundations of her art. She relies on instinct, a steady hand and her ideas to steer the choice and arrangement of objects for the picture and the translation from idea to work of art. As an instance of imponderability, this conjunction confers on the process something of the temporal and transient. It becomes clear that artistic endeavour demands a sequence of decisions and actions, with a high level of concentration on the direction, which the idea is taking during the execution of the picture, up to the point where the piece is regarded as complete and work stops. This appears even more important when crayon and paint are used on the collage background. The sheets are drawn on and overpainted with quick, energetic strakes and a light streaking of colour. Shapes form, tail off towards the edges or scatter the central background of the picture. Architectural elements are often added: lattice and cross arrangements, elements to enclosure and give order. Shapes may often be angular, accentuating a particular direction, cutting the surface in a dynamic movement of diagonal forms. Even in the smaller formats, this creates a degree of monumentality and a vivid interplay of striations, intersections and overlapping lines and colours.

Colour is used only very sparingly as an element of visual perception. Bright red, milky blue, sunlight yellow appear as rays, spots or beams to highlight certain points: however, they always preserve a clear view of the background, merely punctuating and not covering the collages. By contrast, the use of black and white - so neutral, yet to a large extent so spatially defining - is strange and striking and here, tao, there is a certain ambivalence, with black flakes drifting off, drawing the eye further in to rest on the broad white strips pasted across the paper cuts. Black and white create a layer of space at the very front edge of the sheet of paper, seemingly intent on the highly risky manoeuvre of almost complete self-eradication of the picture. Here, exposed and presented to the beholder as conscious artistic statement, is the conflict between idea and execution of the thought, which is the basis of artistic endeavour. The fragile construct forming in the mind undergoes many changes and transformations in its journey towards material substance, moving from a notional, flowing image to a solid mass, a process that must necessarily lead to a conflict. Rather than avoiding this confrontation, Jutta Temp elevates it for use as creative potential in the essential conflict between the closed and the open, the synthetic and the organic elements.

The larger format pictures also feature extended monochrome, pure black areas, which create vibrating surfaces to which the eye is unwittingly drawn. The greatest challenge to the painter is presented by the black picture, which owes a debt to Malevich's 'Black Square', the torso-like clouds of paint of Mark Rothko and the smooth flesh tones of Ad Reinhardt. It represents nothing other than the self and thus by extension, is the confrontation with nothingness, the absolutely amorphous and unformed. It is therefore a compelling definition of chaos, the infinite emptiness that is the source of the manifestation of all things. Jutta Temp's pictures show that she is clearly very aware of both the creative and the destructive powers of black. The use she makes of it and its counterpart, white, evidently springs from the desire to take the essence of reality and capture it in material form on paper and with collage techniques and so to endow it with a universal spiritual quality.

The interplay of light and dark shapes the allegory of night and day, those opposing forces of organic life anchored in the conditions of existence and non-existence. At this point, it is useful to draw comparisons with Spanish art, which Jutta Temp not only studied during her many years on Gran Canaria, but also with which perhaps she feels a personal empathy. The work of Tapies, Miliares and Chillida also displays a similar desire to take an originally coarse and relatively unformed raw material, such as wood, iron, coarse sacking and feit, and to transform it and substantially change it. The heavy earthiness of these materials is transfigured by contact with the artist, through the manifestation of ideas and the power of the imagination, which breathe life into even the crudest of materials, elevating them to a world, which transcends the original material. The artist compares himself with God, creating man out of a lump of clay and this is not just hubris, but because the process of discovering a crude material and giving it a soul is the only assurance of the sense and effective value of the work the artist has. Under these circumstances, artistic endeavour continues to remain a balancing act between the necessity of taking the most extreme risk and the consideration that this might not be achievable.

Beatrix Nobis

Finally Jutta Temp's own words about herself and her life with art:

I was born in Braunschweig in 1935.
I have ever dreamt to be creative
and never lose this dream out of sight.
I was imployed all my lifetime with the
art of painting, I was conscious about,
that the day comes, on which I only
will paint.....and it happend exactly!

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