artist / participant
For his first solo exhibition at Haunch of Venison London, Swiss painter Uwe Wittwer (b.1954) has embarked on a new body of work that continues his artistic research on the authenticity and truth of images, and in particular the role of the artist as image hunter and voyeur.
The exhibition presents a series of recent works on paper – in watercolour and inkjet – introducing recurrent motifs in the artist’s oeuvre: Old Master paintings, still life, interiors and genre scenes. A series of new inkjets deal with the issue of voyeurism and privacy – vaguely recognisable interiors are based on images of homes for sale in suburban London, sourced from the website of estate agent Foxtons.
A major installation, The Class of Beauty, shows various table vitrines, each dedicated to an iconic artist that Wittwer treasures: bringing together Friedrich, De Hooch, Kalf, Klee, Poussin, Ruisdael, Titian and Warhol in a loose and associative manner, he has assembled monochrome watercolours showing either a detail from a specific referenced work or a virtuoso rendering of a genre typified by that artist. Two large format watercolours of a primary school class from bygone times sum up the installation, evoking the serenity of a cultural archive that yet bears the artist’s very personal aesthetic code.
Wittwer’s source material is carefully chosen from digital representations – images of images – which he researches from the obscure recesses of the internet. In consequence, he denies the conventional hierarchy of media in favour of his engagement with images. His dominant interest lies in the artistic momentum of levelling and balancing out the pictorial qualities of the source material in one of his three preferred techniques: oil painting, watercolour and inkjet.
While the works are figurative, Wittwer is more accurately described as a painter of images; the unifying principal of the pictorial and his very own painterly style make the three techniques resemble each other. His motifs may recur in all media and collate his work to a coherent universe. It is this dreamlike certitude of aesthetic logic that characterises the panoptic imagery of Uwe Wittwer and connects the viewer immediately to his universe.