At an Untenable Distance

By Michael Gatzke

“But sometimes silence – in a screaming world – is stronger…”

In the words of Günter Seubold from the essay “Aesthetics of Silence” in “Silence and Being” (2014):

“Silence is fundamental for every individual, for every culture as a whole. A culture that forgets that and sets it on “full droning” is dying, basically dead, even if she keeps herself on her feet for a while. But what keeps her on her feet does not come from the time of the full boil, but from a time before that, a time when silence had not been destroyed. One feeds on the nourishing culture or fruit of earlier decades and centuries, while one pursues its consuming business and pleasures. “

An astute observation. Our frenetic world travels at a relentless pace, and yet never seems to arrive at its destination. It allows no time to breathe or reflect.

A similar point of view is expressed in the Bible (Exodus 20: 8-11): For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day and saw that it was good.” This biblical seventh day has tended to be lost in modern times; silence is not very popular in our busy era. The word sounds somehow stale, outdated, even strange. Silence has no room left. In the age of the Internet, iphone, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where images rush past in an endless stream, silence does not just happen. You have to make a conscious decision to be quiet. To experience silence, you have to go offline.

This series is an attempt to capture the slowness of images, countering the tempo of electronic picture noise. The pieces are devoid of anything colorful or loud. Ostensibly nothing happens, or very little, yet everything seems possible. There are no concrete elements of landscape to be found, only wide open horizons. The few people appearing in collage form are self-absorbed, like sleepwalkers in the twilight between dream and reality. They do not seem to really participate in their activities.

Michael Gatzke (born in Cologne) is a painter in the 21st century. The artist has participated in exhibitions and art fairs in US, GB, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Belgium and Germany. Figurine and landscape are his main themes and stand side-by-side. Gatzke’s installations and pictures are atmospheric and painterly image landscapes, often complex, always with a narrative dimension. They breathe the conciliatory calm and boundlessness of a small, newly created universe. He tries to keep his works open, leaving the last step to the viewer. The puzzles must not all be solved by the artist.