artist / participant
Sven Kroner (Kempten, Germany, 1973) is a painter. Today as always, it is quite common for painters to specialise in a particular genre for part of their career—sometimes for a lifetime. From this perspective, Sven Kroner could be classified as a landscape painter. But while such a label may make it easier to discuss his approach to certain genre-specific problems (such as the control of spatiality and unity of colour), it could all too easily obscure the more essential point —that Kroner is not in the business of painting more or less romantic landscapes. One only need take a closer look at his work to see that for all his interest in depicting landscapes—most notably areas that defy human efforts at cultivation—this interest is of secondary importance. In his work, he concerns himself with the fundamental challenges of painting in general. His primary focus is not on rendering landscapes, but on ordering shapes and colours, and on creating an arc of tension in the composition.
The numerous narrative elements, such as the abandoned streets and shacks, illuminated windows and people—or animals—observing the landscape contribute appreciably to the generally mildly melancholy mood of the images. If one is content, as a viewer, to see the effect of isolated motifs on the atmosphere, or to ponder the revelation of the ideas and thoughts that may possibly be inferred from these motifs, one may well overlook the fact that Kroner does not paint because he has something to say, but tells a story because he wants to paint. Kroner's images frequently refer to the Allgäu of his youth and his current surroundings, because he knows these landscapes and the motifs they contain so well. But when we study his paintings, it becomes clear that what matters to him is not these allusions as such, but the scope they open up for shaping his paintings. The ordering of shapes and colours, and thef tension in the composition, are achieved through representation. Kroner is able to demonstrate the human dimension of certain apparently abstract problems of painting. So it is only in the light of this effort that the true significance of the motifs he depicts becomes clear. None of this is new—it puts us in mind of 'The Months of the Year' series by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. But such resonances may actually—although there is no space to go into this here—make it all the more interesting. —From Sven Kroner, A Painter, by Sander J. Dekker
The Air Was Magic When We Played