Saturday 14 April 2012

Dietrich Orth: "Der Feuerfrier-Effekt" @ Susanne Zander, Cologne

"LSD Beruhigungsbild" (1990),

Mischtechnik auf Leinwand, 157 x 133 cm

18. April - 16. June 2012
opening: Wednesday, 18/04/2012, 6 – 9 pm

Born 1956, Dietrich Orth was the rising star of the art market in the early 1990’s. Situated in the equivocal territory of Conceptual Outsider Art - his pastel-colored large-format canvasses are, as Roberta Smith once pointed out, oddly reminiscent of an early Bruce Nauman – Orth's work renders categorization obsolete and demonstrates how the line between outsider and insider art is but tenuous. His circumspect yet intensely evocative paintings, which often take the form of quasi-mystical diagrams, analyze "the dangers and potential rewards, however large or small, of engaging the world's chaos" (K. Marriott Jones in Artforum, Sept. 1994).

Diagnosed with clinical psychosis in his late twenties, Orth was originally introduced to painting as a therapeutical measure, but went on to develop a pictorial language that in turn serves as a vehicle of therapy for the viewer himself: he is actively involved in the interplay between representation, text and his own mental performance. Orth's texts are essentially "instructional" and function both as a title and an introduction to specific works, always transcending merely personal and curative concerns. Orth's paintings can be seen as an investigation on body language, the effects of his psychopharmaceutical medication and a study of a range of emotional landscapes and states of mind broken down to illustrated and structured processes of experience.

Galerie Susanne Zander showed Dietrich Orth's work for the very first time in 1989. David Zwirner dedicated a solo exhibition to the self-taught artist in New York in 1994, Kasper König at the Portico Frankfurt 1997. Today, Orth lives in a psychiatric institution in the South of Germany. He has long given up painting.

"My pictures do not require additional interpretation. They all serve as a blueprint for the imagination of the viewer. To produce paintings that by force of their imaginativeness are able to renew the viewer's reduced living-effectiveness after a breakdown - that is my aim in life."
(D. Orth)

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