press release

Born in 1949, Max Naumann can be considered as one of the leading living German painters . Recognised in his country for at least 20 years, his work has been the object of numerous exhibitions worldwide, yet he is, like so many others, favoured more by private collectors than institutions. This is his first Museum exhibition in Belgium. Together with the Vidal Saint Phale Gallery in Paris, the Museum of Ixelles and the Pascal Polar Gallery join forces to present an exhibition of paintings and drawings post 1997, mainly from the last three years at the museum, and since 2002 at the Pascal Polar Gallery. All of them come from private collections in various countries, most of them on view for the first time.

Mental horizons. Naumann is figurative, but for some years his paintings have been untitled. The subject is a pretext for him. Only the moment of creation is important. On the canvas the colours are largely autonomous. They are freely associated to create forms by a kind of determinism, inherent in the act of painting. Their "black value" is just as important as the almost exclusive use of tempera. This allows for quick working and with its matt quality, it absorbs the paintings light, creating the calm the viewer needs to connect intimately with the work. These are mental horizons that appear before us, revealing a universe buried within the depths of the canvas.

A highly singular universe Naumann's art is created through figurative means but it is not merely narrative. It is the result of a formal search for a harmony of colour, form and figure. Concerned neither by subject nor symbol, solely by the urge to exercise his art at best; dissociating drawing from painting. "The aim" he says, "is to produce what is necessary, no more, no less". The life of these paintings lies in a singular tension between deep restless anxiety and outward tranquillity. His painting is charged with an extremely original universe giving a unique flavour to figurative art. Going beyond reductive categorisation, he breathes new life into painting whilst situating it within the tradition of his peers and recent art history. Pressetext

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Max Neumann