Painting for the Sake of Painting - the Central Forms of Robert Schaberl

First and foremost: seeing is always a presence that calls for passionate devotion from creator and viewer alike. If this is true in general for colour field painting, it is most fitting for the ever-changing sonic ambience shapes of Robert Schaberl that constantly re-create themselves. His path has been continuous from the mostly black oil painting of the early 1990s and the colourful monochrome canvases of the Berlin years, over the flickering, glazed colour solids built up of 60–70 layers of acrylic paint to the shimmering, rotating colour cosmos in the last couple of years created by using interference pigments. Schaberl calls these ‘central forms’, since all these variations are consistent developments of the same visual idea he is occupied with and has been spurred on by from the very beginning of his career. How do materials and forms react to each other in the creation of a unique, perfect tone? To answer this simple, but in its outcome unpredictable question, he experiments in his laboratory in Vienna and paints for the sake of painting. And there seems to be no end to this process. As he succeeds in escalating the tension, seducing by new impressions of the senses, making one happy, keeping one in motion. He uses Iriodin paint for his newest works, thereby prompting the viewer to move constantly in front of them, since in different lighting conditions, at a different position of the sun or the viewer, entirely different tones reveal themselves, ranging from light blue, through green to rust. It becomes plain, especially in our fast-changing world, how important works of art are that drive us – people bombarded by events – to a slowed down viewing and reflection of actions. Robert Schaberl enables us to discover the painted space as an aggregate state that comes to life through the viewer during the process of visual perception. However, and this is what makes the viewing of Robert Schaberl’s works special and unique, only someone in motion can experience the full richness of the hidden worlds of colour, the pulsating layers and the opening of space towards a colour tone. Even though only a small selection of Robert Schaberl’s diverse œuvre is on display, they clearly reveal the intensive radiance of colour (felt singly and as a whole), the grandiose explosiveness of spatial effect as well as the exceptional fascination that Schaberl’s painting for the sake of painting has for us.

©  Dr. phil. Harald Kraemer, Hongkong/Basel 2012