Eva Kaiser. Redemption of Empathy
On 23 February 2020 at 3 PM, the solo-exhibition ´´Redemption of Empathy´´ opened in Pashmin Art Gallery Hamburg. In this exhibition, a total of 28 paintings from Eva Kaiser are shown. The diversity of her works ranges from Christian iconography to expressionistic depictions of people and more recent abstractions. However, the visual language of every kind is not separated from the depicted topic, but shows a survival of the traditional symbolic content of empathy without its cultural-historical shell.
The term EMPATHY has different forms of existence in the development process of art. A complete system of color symbols can be found in traditional church paintings. The function of the color is originally dependent of the subject and it, therefore, evokes the emotional association of the viewer. The church paintings also use the physical presence of Christ to evoke the viewer´s empathy. As the French church father St. Bernhard de Clairvaux suggests, ´´Since we are carnal beings and are born from the greed of the flesh, our greed or love must necessarily begin with the flesh.´´ Accordingly, in the pictorial representation the humanity of Christ is compared to His divinity brought to the fore, so that the emotional approach of the viewer to the Crucified, his wounds and his suffering, is accentuated.
In Kaiser´s paintings having religious themes, however, the components differ significantly from the traditional way of representation. In the painting ´´DER MESSIAS´´, the artist uses a close-up of a half-length portrait instead of showing the entire body of the suffering Christ. His deeply hanging head leaves his facial features unrecognizable. In contrast to the emphasis on physical pain on the Savior´s body, the artist smeared the side wound with the rapidly painted brushwork.
Since the secondary perception of cultural people can be tracked back to natural subconsciousness, Eva Kaiser also shows an image of primitive human feelings beyond Christian iconography. It frees up the internal emotional tones of the colors by detaching the colors from their relationship to the figurative content. Instead of using red color to depict blood, the artist expresses the vehemence during the passion with red in its independent form. This red merges with the yellow of heavenly majesty and turns into an enthusiastic orange.
Eva Kaiser continues the color which is freed from its conventional easement in her landscapes and abstractions. In the painting ´´IRLAND´´ the artist manifests the stormy intensity of the environment by strong contrast. The broad brush of her color style does not reflect a compact shape, but creates an atmospheric impression that changes at every moment and has the vital expressiveness of natura naturans. In this way, nature is no longer regarded only as the to be imitated natura naturata, but is regarded as the outcome of the essential desire for expression. The artist shortens the process of transformation of the symbolization between the depicted elements and subjective perception. The colors no longer refer to the exclusive abstract ideas, instead, they create the emotional perception in a direct and intuitive way, which can differ from viewer to viewer. Compared to the concrete reality of material life, the strength of her brushwork evokes sensory perception in the viewer´s inner world.
In addition to the use of colors with their immediate pathos, the modernist representation of Eva Kaiser in Christian iconography also opens up the perspective of incarnation. Through the blurred facial features, Eva Kaiser de-identifies the Messiah. Thus his physical presence does not evoke empathy specifically on a single subject, but on the general physicalness of people. The de-identified presence in the religious theme transforms into the individualistic figures in Eva Kaiser´s nudes and portrait paintings. The heads of people in everyday life, which were deeply lowered in earlier epochs, appear upright here. Various female bodies give in to the need for freedom of nudity. They vary in shape as well as in color and do not represent factual objectivity, but reflect a sensual appeal. In contrast to the tenderness of women in classic aesthetics, the artist shows the sexuality and enthusiasm of femininity, which is veiled with ecstatic colors and a transformed surface. Relieved from the dogmatic shackles, the picture contains a utopian world before the Fall, a prototype of man with his purest empathic tendency.
© Chenxin Ge
Pashmin Art Gallery
Vernissage: 23.02.2020, 3 PM
Venue: Pashmin Art Gallery Hamburg. Gotenstraße 21, 20097 Hamburg