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So formt sich eine Malerei, die Flusser so beschreibt: „Man hat den Schleier der Malerei nicht immer gegen das Licht gehalten, das ist eine neue Erschei- nung. Man hat sich früher begnügt, die Malerei nur sinnlich zu genießen. Man hat sie nicht erkannt als das, was sie ist, nämlich die Sprache der Far- ben und Formen statt in Worten und Sätzen. Die abstrakte oder konkrete Malerei ist das Resultat des bewussten Sprechens in Farben und Formen. Es ist die reine sinnliche Grammatik“10 . Und Flusser, der nun wahrlich nicht im Verdacht steht, die Malerei im Zuge einer rückwärtsgewandten und die Gegenwart verklärenden Weise zu idealisieren, fährt fort, indem er die Male- rei als adäquate Sprache eines neuen Gestaltungswillens beschreibt: „Es ist für unsere Zwecke wichtig, die neueste Entwicklung der Malerei richtig zu interpretieren. Für uns sind die abstrakten Maler Propheten des Willens. Sie künden von kommenden Dingen, sie geben einen Vorgeschmack auf die Entwicklung der Naturwissenschaften. Der abstrakte oder konkrete Maler hat sich von der Illusion befreit, […] er erkennt am Grunde des Schleiers das Netz des menschlichen Willens. Für ihn sind die Farben und Formen will- kürliche Oberflächenerscheinungen der Sprache. Ihr Zweck ist, die Sprache sichtbar zu machen“11 , an deren reale Gültigkeit die Malerei unverbrüchlich glaubt. Denn die Sprache der Kunst ist auf Bereiche unserer Wahrnehmung und Erkenntnis gestimmt, die dem allein logisch operierenden Denken ver- schlossen bleiben müssen. When the Searing Beam of Painting Refracts Light into a Rainbow Shimmering thoughts on the works of Simon Raab Carsten Ahrens It is not easy to speak in the language of words about the language of lines, colours,and forms,inother words,about painting.The openly acknowledged despair of commentators is one of the ever recurring motifs employed when it comes to speaking about painting. The question of whether painting is ac- tually in need of words, of whether language is capable of comprehending painting, is posed ever anew. Questions that are repeatedly answered with that unfruitful no, which although it positions the text in a distinguished tradition of theoretical instances), is not, however, able to impede it. This text follows in that instantial tradition (in a citatory manner). In his observations on the Hostages by Jean Fautrier, Francis Ponge returns to one question again and again: “Are there words for painting? One can ask oneself (here is the proof). And give oneself an answer: Certainly, it is pos- sible to speak about everything. But when one has once started, should then one not avoid asking oneself, and not play along right away? Or give oneself a simpler answer: So start, … let’s try, we’ll see. Or but: no, appar- ently not, no suitable words; painting is painting, and words are apparently made for literature, not for painting. … We have hardly moved forward a step.”1 And Ponge finally declares—as a redemptive summary to a certain extent: “In any case, good painting is such painting about which one, de- spite all attempts to say something, will never be able to say something satisfactory.”2 Under this assumption, it is possible to begin. In the past years, Simon Raab has created an extensive block of works that are situated with an instinctive sureness on the border between painting and sculpture. Coherently describing what we see is difficult for us. We un- doubtedly see painting—but we also see quasi structures of an object-like relief. In short, we experience sculptural moments in the painted and the painted in the sculptural. We are, therefore, thankful that the artist has given these works a name: Parleau is what he calls them. And he does this for good reason. What resonates in the formation of the word is “speaking” (Fr. parler), and the artist, who grew up in Canada and now lives in the United States, transferred the French par l’eau into English with Parleau as the result. We, therefore, read an anglicized variation of the French par l’eau, which we can potentially comprehend in English as “through the water.” With this poetic term for his work, Raab describes what we see: a mesh of the refraction of light and vibrating compositions of colour, and he thus sidesteps the tedious question of whether we are dealing here with sculpture or with painting—since we are dealing with both and with more. Thomas Huber, the painter and poet, who generally commits his images to the accompanying care of the presence of texts, has made the surface of water into a vital metaphor for his poetic pictorial system. In his case, the surface of water is presented as a permeable membrane on which light— and thus the gaze—is refracted and is plunged into another sphere. This other sphere is the space of the image, in which another density, another depth, another temperature prevails. The image is thus a condensed form of the reality of life, concentrated life and counterworld to reality, a space of the imagination. 192 10 Ebd. 11 Ebd. 1 Francis Ponge, Texte zur Kunst, Frankfurt am Main 1990, p.17 2 Ibid.