Abstraction — in life and on canvas

An Indian at heart, German artist Juergen Puetz has learnt to expand his senses when it comes to his art works

Published: 19th April 2017 11:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th April 2017 05:42 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:Abstract painting unites you with whatever is in your ‘imaginative’ consciousness and lets you expand on it,” explains German artist Juergen Puetz. His paintings indeed reflect the idea of expanding one’s senses. Born in Cologne but a resident of Auroville, Puducherry, since 1973, the sexagenarian’s works are being showcased at DakshinaChitra this month.

Puetz has worked on land-reclamation projects and regeneration of water bodies in the areas around Auroville. He credits his beliefs in the teachings of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, as well as Buddhism as the main influences in his decision to shift towards India. “My beliefs were inspired by the turbulent times of the 1960s and 70s. It was this turmoil that shaped my beliefs in Indian philosophies,” he says. Though he started painting from an early age and had a keen interest in the museums and art scenes in his native city, it took a backseat when he came to India to work at the nursery in Matrimandir, Auroville.
“I was raising trees and saplings to be planted in the surroundings of the community. It left a lasting impact on me that got me into working on land regeneration in the area around Auroville, seemingly unfit for habitation,” he says. Afforestation, soil, and water conservation programmes started with gusto with the help of local farmers, as The Palmyra Centre for Ecological Landuse, Water Management and Rural Development conducted projects to plant nearly 2 million trees and restore water caches in the area.
In 2011, Juergen returned to painting — but he included elements from his work as the physical base for them, signifying the important influence it has on him. “I often use various types of sands and soil from the local surroundings as the foundation for my oil and acryclic works,” he adds. Though initially he often created digital works as well, he explains that his movement towards abstract painting is a direct reference to his spiritual beliefs.

“Gerhard Richter once said ‘I don’t know about reality — all I know are the impressions that I have of it’. This impressive statement could come right out of Vedanta, the definite Indian philosophy on reality, or the absence of it,” explains Puetz. “If one looks at paintings by Picasso, Kandinsky or Richter, you can see that if there had been rules, they were there to be broken…but maybe not completely — because there are degrees of abstractions. In my own abstract explorations, I work with all kinds of materials to give expression to a single flash of inspiration to be materialised on wood or canvas.”
He works with commercial oil paint, soil from different locations, different kind of pigments, oxides, acrylic, oil paints, glass paints, linseed oil and arabic gum.

Juergen Puetz’s paintings will be exhibited till May 10 at DakshinChitra, Muttukadu. For details, contact 27472603

India Matters


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