Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 10435 Paintings as Discoveries of Self A substantial difference between Raab’s text and his paintings can be found in the diverging perspectives of the artist. In his verse, the author looks outwards, while in his most recent series of images, it is exactly the other way around: the focus leads from the outside inwards, the reporting of his own condition masked. What one sees in these paintings is a descriptive view of the “prison” with its dominant bars viewed from various perspectives. In a strict sense, one might speak of a “gilded cage” , alluded to by the extraordinarily lush vegetation behind the bars. Other—quite schematic appearing—depictions of hands, which seem to be shaking the bars, surrender to the desire for freedom. There is a discrepancy between the universe of the “voluntary prison” so broadly defined in Raab’s poem and the deliberate demarcations of the paintings, which only partially correspond to his verse: while the poet engages in dialogue with his beloved, listening to her warming words, perceiving the echo of her voice and her laughter, the resident of the cage remains strangely “silent” . One occasionally, albeit faintly, catches a glimpse of his face reddened with rage, of his hands shaking the bars, and of the space from which he gazes at a beautiful sunset. Given the difficulty of the production process due to deformation of the surface of the sheets of alumini- um or steel, it is nearly impossible to form an interior space along the contours previously defined by the painting. The shaping of the relief is thus confined to the contours of the bars, and consequently accentu- ates much more intensively the lack of freedom. They trace the paths toward knowledge as Raab describes them in his poem, as that which he can and cannot do becomes clear to him. Raab’s artistic intention first becomes clear by viewing the images in the From behind these Bars cycle as a series, and through the correspondences with the verse, which calls to mind William Blake. Both the poem and the paintings are “keys to that promise of freedom” without which the world of creation would be unimaginable. Like William Blake in his Songs of Innocence. Simon Raab also had to forsake his “gilded cage” in order to philosophize about human existence in verse and painting. In contrast to the Parleau images, he here also speaks about himself. Perhaps one day a Parleau self-portrait might also follow. And it might possibly be just as unusual as that by Blake. In the tradition of English painting, the self-portrait was in no way consid- ered as merely a commonplace recording of one’s own self, rather it was invariably understood as a witness to the awareness of oneself as an independent, artistic individual in a particular social context. William Blake’s red chalk drawing in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London confirms this assertion. Simon Raab remains true to his Parleau series: the selection of the portrait of another individual is always an allusion to both personal preferences and respect—and this, too, is a type of reflected self-portrait. 1 Simon Raab, “Artist’s Statement,” in Simon Raab, Parleau, ed. by the Galerie Peter Zimmermann, Mannheim 2010, p. 14. 2 “Parleau evolved to simulate the essence of seeing images through the rippling surface of water.The play of light,the intensity of colour,the reflective qualities of the objects below the surface all appeal to me in a profound way.”Simon Raab,“Artist’s Statement,”in: Simon Raab, Parleau, ed. by the Galerie Peter Zimmermann, Mannheim 2010, Cf ibid p. 118. 3 Newton gave his inaugural lecture at the Royal Society in London on the theory of colour. His notes “On Colour” served as the basis for his main work Opticks: or A Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light (1704), which Raab also indirectly reflects in his remarks on Parleau. 4 Raab cites Freeman Dyson’s postulation:“… heretics who question the dogmas are needed”—and sees himself as one of them. Raab 2010 (see note 1), p. 80. 5 “Alas to be closest to reality we must let go of our preconceptions and false anchors.” Raab 2010 (see note 1), Cf ibid p. 118. 6 “It is all temporal,undefined,chaotic and uncomfortable.In the frustrating discomfort,I want you to relax and float on the turbulence of not knowing.”Raab 2010 (see note 2),Cf ibid p. 118. 7 Simon Raab wrote the poem “From behind these Bars” as a text to accompany his new series of images of the same name. See p.55. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid. 10 See also Heinz Ludwig Arnold and Theo Buck, Positionen des Erzählens: Analysen und Theorien zur deutschen Gegenwartsliteratur, Munich, 1983. 11 William Blake, “The School Boy”, in Songs of Innocence, plate 7. Blake’s drawing to accompany this poem (or was it the other way around?) is enigmatic. It depicts a total of five individuals whose activities are unclear. The possible interpretation of the richly abundant vegetation as a Tree of Life is contradicted by the figure of a young man (?) who can be seen at the very top in the mesh of branches, and makes one think rather of a dead person. 12 The National Portrait Gallery in London preserves this tradition.