Light Ellipse / Gray Frame, 1989
Robert Mangold is one of the great reformers of painting. A work such as “Light Ellipse / Gray Frame” has never existed previously. The painting extends onto the wall far beyond its dissimilar edges. In fact, the wall is a part of the work and is directly integrated in its construction. Liberated from the rectangular frame standard, the painting opens up into the space.
“Light Ellipse / Gray Frame” is made up of two parts, both of which are convincing paintings in their own right. The title of the work describes their unique character. Despite all differences in appearance, both parts balance each other completely. They only meet at their highest point – but still create a unified whole.
Mangold gives elements of painting a totally new effect. The form creates the work’s extension and connects it to the wall. The color – in its application and choice of hue – is the material that physically brings the painting to the fore, to the observer. The line ties the whole together and prevents the illusion of a “pictorial space”.
Robert Mangold’s paintings always create a generous unity. All elements appear with equal value and without demonstrative effects. They seem to join together as a matter of course and simultaneously succeed in creating tension. The “events” within the painting and beyond its borders take place in the precise collaboration among its parts.
The viewers experience “Light Ellipse / Gray Frame” as a surprising phenomenon. The physical presence of the irregular color planes makes it difficult to take on a position of distance. The artwork emanates an energy that contradicts its calm radiance. The complexity behind the “simple” surface leads observers to marvel in astonishment.