20 October – 25 November 2000
White Cube Hoxton Square
The three German painters presented in White Cube’s Goldener Der Springer Das Kalte Herz - Eberhard Havekost, Frank Nitsche and Thomas Scheibitz - all studied in Dresden, a city imbued with a history of painting from Casper David Friedrich to Gerhard Richter. They trained at the Dresden Academy and share the experience of growing up against a horizon of political and ideological separatism and then unification with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Thomas Scheibitz makes large, brightly coloured paintings that utilise traditional painting techniques to depict modern, semi-abstract compositions: fragmentary landscapes and architectural structures with repeated motifs such as fences and flowers. He employs a graphic-like reduction of form, lending the paintings a generic quality where any hint of individuality has been lost and his palette of 'impure', warm colours, such as hot pinks, deep reds and lurid purples, become curiously dusty and cold through their heavy, flat application. The blocks of colour fields and planes bisect and interlock, evoking the blankness of distance rather than any recognisable locality. Like Scheibitz, Havekost also employs bright, matt colours that seem washed with an element of grey and white in his modestly scaled paintings of suburban houses and blank figures. Often rendered in series, and sometimes displayed as diptychs and triptychs, their repetition only emphasises the blankness of these images. The slight modulations of colour and content between several pictures of the same image make each painting like a sequential film still. The repetitive motifs of modern suburban architecture create an atmosphere of unlikely quietude, which is somehow menacing, similar to the flat, deadpan interiors of a David Lynch movie. While the formal logic of both Havekost and Scheibitz is indebted to the photographic snapshot, Frank Nitsche's paintings are influenced by the contemporary visions of the French theorist Paul Virilio and the novels of JG Ballard. His large-scale canvases with light, almost lurid swathes of colour depict sketchy compositions suggestive of altered or evolving forms, semi-organic shapes caught in mid-movement, lending an impression of speed. Cars, computers, and twisted broken shapes are reworked on the canvas, their erased lines left as traces of forms that have evolved and disappeared during the painting process.