Georg Imdahl

Blue, Blue, Blue are all the Paintings

Rudolf de Crignis at Cora Hölz in Düsseldorf (Deutsch)

With unusual determination, the New York-based Swiss artist Rudolf de Crignis 
has been painting exclusively blue paintings for a number of years now.  One 
notices immediately that they owe their existence to a passionate 
contemplation on the color blue, an introverted research that wants to 
explore the color's entire spectrum. With peculiar suspense, the paintings 
iridesce between relaxation and tension. At the Cora Hölzl Gallery in 
Düsseldorf which presents Rudolf de Crignis in cooperation with the Margarete 
Roeder Gallery in New York, five paintings are shown  in which the 
ultramarine is subtly graded by glazes of pink, violet, white and orange 
between the chalk ground and the exterior skin.
The character of the paintings is determined solely by the color, its 
oscillation (caused by the priming) and the paintings' sizes. It attempts to 
elude linguistic appropriation, but aims directly at sensual experience. The 
paintings therefore need to be approached with particular patience and 
sensitivity, since they may at first seem withdrawn, due to their similar 
appearance. Constructed of up to forty layers of paint, they irritate the 
viewer at first glance.  Even from a short distance, the eye attempts in vain 
to find something to cling on to on the surface and its texture, an aspect in 
which the paintings are close to those by Ad Reinhardt or also Günter Umberg 
from Cologne.  Instead, deep - as it were placeless - spaces of bright or 
subdued diffuse light open up.
It is less powerful than the blue of Yves Klein.  Nevertheless, one is 
tempted to recognize a desire for the transcendental in de Crignis's 
paintings as well.  In light-filled clarity, each work aims at an "absolute" 
result, an undisturbed, impeccable purity of experience.  To the exploring 
eye, the tableaux also offer the pleasure of investigating the 
differentiation of color.  This is even more true for the works on board 
which are designated as "paintings".  They resulted from the erasing of 
different hues: Barely noticeable, they still shimmer on the surface.  De 
Crignis's position - in the vicinity of "Radical Painting" - is certainly not 
a popular one but it's worth taking a look at. (Until April 30.)              
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Saturday, April 17, 1999, No. 89, p. 54.