Thoughts & Insights

The Final Outcome Remains Open

Since the OUBEY MINDKISS 5th Anniversary Happening we’ve had a lot of interesting resonance, especially from those who were there on 5 May at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe and so had the opportunity to see some of OUBEYs original works for the first time.


Here’s just one comment:

“OUBEYs paintings are visionary. They open a view of the future for me even though they were painted over 30 years ago.”

It was this comment in particular that gave me the idea of letting OUBEY speak for the first time in his own words about what he considered the particular quality of his paintings to be – here in this Blog, after OUBEY MINDKISS has now been on the public stage for five years. So below you will find a previously unpublished extract from a recorded interview he gave in 1992 at the time of the first and only exhibition of his work held during his lifetime. Even if in this extract OUBEY is explicitly talking about the quality of the square – because this exhibition was exclusively concerned with square formats – we know today, from a huge range of comments and reflections, that the impact of his paintings he talks about is by no means limited to the square format alone:

“The change in the imaginary world of the viewer is not caused by external influences, not through the viewer walking around the object and seeing, for instance, changes in the light and shadow effects, but rather by the painting being modified in his consciousness, triggering an irreversible process. This is something that a painting can do when it has the right kind of quality. Then the movement starts on the surface of the painting by itself. Then there are key moments, key points, in this two dimensional object that purposefully trigger a four dimensional projection in the mind of the viewer, a chain of optical contexts continuously shifting and reassembling. The dynamics of motion are stored in the painting.

The square constitutes the geometric groundwork on which, under certain conditions, disorder and chaos can transform into order. The picture is set within the square, with the square symbolizing a state of low gravity, so that new dynamic states can continuously arise in the consciousness of the viewer. The pictures of Jackson Pollock have something of this quality, too, although with Jackson Pollock the dynamics of motion painting have such a high priority that the impression they form in the mind is more of a superb monotony on a high complex level, stabilized at that level.

My paintings, on the contrary, continually compose and recompose themselves in new structures during the whole time they are viewed. They have an initial period of viewing in which the painting can cause unease or possible irritation or an enthusiastic response. In the course of viewing the viewer can move forward on a journey, a stronger mental process can unfold in the viewer’s mind than is the case with other paintings which define and represent themselves more clearly. In the painting I seek to lay out the processes that can take place in the mind of the viewer in such a way that the final outcome remains open. This means that I consciously accept an irreversible structure. In the end the idea is that each viewing tells its own completely fresh story – as the deliberate, explicitly intentional core of the painting’s being.”

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The Encounter of Frans Boeckhorst with OUBEYs painting „Journey of the Monads“ lets in some parts become evident what OUBEY intended to evoke in the mind of the viewer, as he told us more than 25 years ago.

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