7639, 1976, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 cm
7813, 1978, oil and casein on canvas, 120 x 120 cm
In the twenties the growth of modern art had its center in the big kettle of ideas of Bauhaus. Gropius knew the impact of modern technology on industry, architecture, crafts, and the arts, and his message was expanded by Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Breuer. The urban environment got new skylines and there were new forms of interior design. Moholy Nagy and Kepes took out of the enormous melting pot of ideas new inventions for visual adornments. The border line between the world of technology and the world of pictorial arts was erased. After half a century we still find the arts adapting according to this pioneering spirit.
In Bauhaus, Albers and Itten were teaching and making research on the fields of color perception and color theory. Albers moved to the United States and out of his influence on a new generation came in the sixties the catch word and slogan the responsive eye and op-art. In fact, both words do not cover the intentions and realities of the artistic themes of Albers. His own work on interactions of colors has changed the situation for all education of art. The magnificent prospect of the use of color in his works is not limited to small transportable pictures but will change our architectural environment. Research and visual creation were intermingled in his works in prose, poetry, graphics, and painting.
His ideas did not move out of europe when he went to the united states. In competetion and rivarly with Albers, Itten produced another series of color studies in Switzerland. Max Bill tested different formal possibilities in three and two dimensions in the Swiss environment. The third pioneer of Switzerland is Lohse. Taking up themes from de Stilj in Holland and from Bauhaus, he con-centrated on color series and transformations in vertical arrangements.
Albers and Lohse have worked with an obsessed concentration on what seems to be small problems of form and color. The fact is that the small problems to be solved are the foundations of important new roads. The number of hitch hikers taking up themes from Albers and Lohse is enormous. This is a kind of success. The works of the two masters will give younger artists possibilities to imitate, but this will be only one trivial effect. Much more important is that they have given contemporary art a kind of syntax that can be applied. A few young artists will also be tempted to continue research on the roads lined out by the older masters.
Frank Badur has worked accordingly with a minimum of formal elements, more or less narrow stripes and fields in a vertical arragenment. The switch between background and foreground is most effective. The use of color is shown not only in an economy of occam's razor (entia non sunt multiplicanda sine necessitatem) but also in a productive dynamics of visual aftereffects. The blue and gray, the yellow and gray seems to be an aesthetics of poverty, but if the beholder watches his own visual field in front of the paintings, he will find out how the fusion of these simple forms and colors in an open arrangement (in Baertling's sense of openess) creates innumerable dynamic elements of the composition. The colors of after-images are more clean and pure - celestial almost - than pigments, the forms of after-images are moving in a rythmic breathing. Together these two types of effects will create a rich experience out of the surfaces so well calculated by Frank Badur.
Ph.D., Professor of Art History at University of Copenhagen
Born 1944 in Oranienburg, Germany.
Lives and works in Finland and Berlin.