Nous sommes le lieu et le non-objet d’une gravitation de signes
insensés. Des forces que nous ignorons, se heurtent, se composent,
écroulant les vestiges, pans de murs, troncs foudroyés, lettres mortes –
et font monter le fond.

Jacques Dupin

These pictures come from far away, from depths in which they have simultaneously congealed and dissolved, from the dark stillness of the lake, from the sediments of time, and from an interior between relentlessness and exertion, an interior charged with a diversity of perceptions, memories, and tensions. Astrid Korntheuer’s art consists in using completely unexpected resources to compose pictures, thereby giving them a form rich in the diverse material from which they are extracted – a form inseparable from the energy from which they were generated and activated. This art imposes itself like a curious alliance between disorder and abundance.
The processes guiding photographic depiction are extremely revealing: fragmentation and convergence, dispersal and concentration, decay and revivification. The ingenious arrangements create balances that steer the converging and diverging peculiarities of surfaces, textures, and grids. The mixture ratio can thus transform materials and contradictory, unequal signs into a cohesive whole that in turn evokes impressions that knot up and untie again – echoing material and pictorial, abstract and figurative, imaginary and real, decorative and structural references.

The Natures Mortes thus appear as a conglomeration of colors, objects, and structures, of a surfeit of balloons, tubes, paper snippets, pieces of cardboard, fabrics, and plastic, of a variety of garlands and flourishes, of intertwinings and accumulations, reversals and linkages. The components taking part in this confusion profess their rapidly perishable nature and do not conceal their dilapidated state as trash. But starting from this chaos and using these fragments as building materials, the act of staging brings forth an organized, durable picture. Astrid Korntheuer produces this connecting logic with the aid of a compositional pattern of symmetries and picture puzzles, fractures and joints, as well as of an oversaturation of the space by means of materiological increase, a targeted use of light, and a peculiar exploitation of the techniques of painting. This approach proves to be rigorous, organic, and musical; it brings into play the surrounding spaces, rhythms, and the possibility of surveying mutual boundaries. Her goal is the montage of separated, cut-up pieces – pieces that, on first glance, nothing seems to ensure that they will function together.

Basically a “mixture photography”? It all depends on what one understands by that. But yes, one would like to use “mixture” to express the interest in blending things, repeating them, and betting on their antagonism, in order to create circumstances, states of coexistence. Astrid Korntheuer mobilizes and confronts the essence and effects of plant and stone, of industry and poetry, of the accustomed and the artificial, of neglect and recycling. She launches a process of regeneration that compensates reality’s gaps and opens the storehouse of the imaginary.
In addition, she gives meaning to everything that is called upon to change and everything that remains uncertain but tenacious and manifests itself in a complete but ephemeral presence. The image of chaos achieves a tensile force of transition. Without blindly limiting herself to the pure function of decorative design, she builds up a significant connection between the wish to return to a primal state, to the occurrence of overflowing, excess, and abundance. This enables the space and its metamorphosis to have extravagant profusion and aeration.

The world of Astrid Korntheuer poses questions about the informational value of its forms of depiction. She answers this primal question with a mixed form that resembles a disaster and a miracle simultaneously. In its complexity, she replaces simplicity with many twists and turns, without losing her orientation. She makes powerful and less marked decisions by supporting herself with the categories inherited from art and culture and creating friction between these and the desires and bricolages of various starting situations. Such a disposition reveals a kind of harmlessness that should not be understood as the expression of a safe and seamless positioning, of course, but as the ability to create a work in frolicking regression that permits her to wrest rituals and practices, as well as vibrant and unforeseeable gestures of creation, from the usual narrowness.

Didier Arnaudet, 2010

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