René Wirths. One Step Beyond

Fascinated by questions of philosophy and phenomenology, René Wirths creates meticulously executed still lifes of objects on a colored background. Unlike photorealism, however, Wirths’ painting process does not take place with the aid of templates, photographs, or projectors, but purely as a transfer performance from three to two dimensions. If for Immanuel Kant the object is a separate entity from man and can only be experienced by means of perception, Edmund Husserl, a good 100 years later, approaches things by believing he can penetrate their essence through observation. His student, Martin Heidegger, however, clearly sees in this the loss of the “actuality” of an object, for it would lose its function as a tool if it were only observed and not used.

René Wirths sees himself as an observer of this world of things and adds another dimension to his philosophical predecessors: that of time. For in order to paint the staged everyday objects in the natural light of his studio, it would take weeks, sometimes months, during which not only the lighting conditions in his studio would change, but also his mood. Wirths’ objects therefore depict, according to Henri Bergson, a simultaneity of the non-simultaneous. Space and time interpenetrate to form a multi-perspective, which condenses this process as a single frontal view. Or in other words: Wirths paints things because they surround us. We live in a material world. Whereas his earlier works on white backgrounds still testify to a certain rigor in their pictorial structure, an increasing dynamism is evident in Wirth’s aesthetic. The colored backgrounds that have become prevalent in recent years were a first step; his latest works finally dissolve the object itself. In the process of abstraction, Wirths reflects on the interpenetration of appearance and reality – at the highest level of craftsmanship and intellect.

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