& imaginative mobils
introduction to the exhibition of Brigitte Bech
by Bastian Rais
The exhibition Constellations & imaginative mobils is a collaboration of the art association EINSTELLUNGSRAUM with the artist BRIGITTE BECH.
"Collaboration", yes, more precisely still is the term 'dialogue', because here we have on one side the EINSTELLUNGSRAUM, which now for quite a while already has offered artists the stage to offer contribution to the controversial debate around the subject 'automobility' - and this in the widest possible sense of the word (terms like suck in, condense, fog beams, freedom, four-cycle engine, metabolism, paradise, and so on). Every year has a different theme/motto, the present cycle deals with SCHEIN (appearance).
Brigitte Bech herself has been dealing with the subject Automobil ever since about eight years, this dealing being very unique. 'Unique' here in the literal sense: in her own way, as just a short view onto the here in these rooms exhibited items shows. When looking at the works here the onlooker may have all kinds of associations - design, horse power, speed, beauty, CO2-emissions, technics, to be obsessed with technics, status symbol, and so forth, but the real starting point in this sense is a very neutral one.
The inspiration, the artistic drive is purely twodimensional and comes from the automobil subject press, possibly also from obscure brochures which are stocked by chosen petrol stations only. The starting point hence is primarily an aesthetical one, the temptation here in the graphical presentation of the automobil in those magazines.
As a non-professional by the way I was surprised by the high
number of different titels, but this certainly reflects the high esteem the automobil in our society.
Insofar one will garanteed not be able to watch Brigitte Bech when painting or drawing of cars in their natural habitat, in open running- or driving lane.
In addition there has been a clear development in Brigitte Bech's works in the course of those eight years. At the beginning they were still relatively conventional though already rather unique auto portraits: the Pontiac Firebird, the BMW 600Csi, the MG T6, the GMC Pick-up. Followed in the second phase by the damaged cars - the worse the better: Karmann-Ghia with rear damage, Chevrolet Corvette with total damage, Ford Taunus after collision with a truck. The third and present phase reduces the proud vehicle on its parts or replacement parts. But here again these are no new exhausts or petrol pumps which are portrayed but used parts as they are offered in the thus specialized press.
Thinking in art historical categories one could even point out the traditions of objet trouves or pop art: that is to the role of chance when finding the photographs of the automobil as mass- and pop(ulair)-object which function as source.
This partition of phases is not absolute, it is rather a progression, each motive could also appear at present like it is seen in the case of this exhibition. Parallel to this there has been a tendency for abstraction. On one hand Brigitte Bech alienates the motive by putting it in a different context. Car wrecks on vine bottle labels, turbo chargers on towels or Ford Mustangs on christmas cards are examples of this alienation method. On the other hand the object is also reduced in its pictorial presentation as far as to almost unrecognizable condition. Like for example in the case of the pointillistic Porsche Cayenne on this kitchen bowl you see here - a result of 'drawing with the drilling machine' as the artist calls it, a technique that has been used for all here presented objects (all of which have been made for this exhibition by the way).