Still Leben

Participating Artist
Bettina Diel & Roberto Greco
June 27 - July 31 2015
June 27 2015

Portfolio ”Still Leben”

Still-Life Bettina Diel & Roberto Greco 3 July – 2 August 2014 Still-life, still life, do we live still? – a contradiction in itself. What is the fascination in art to show carefully arranged “still objects”? Is it the sentimental pleasure of constantly discovering details in them? Is it the yearning, romantic need for a soft melancholy, which is inherent in the simplicity of things and in doing so romanticises the harmony of being? Is it the turn from the delicate blossoming of life to withered mortality? The term “still-life” is derived from the Dutch “still leven” (motionless life). It warns the beholder that they have to die (memento mori). In the still-life works of the 17th century, symbols, such as rotting fruit and vegetables, withered flowers, burned-out candles and many more, indicate the futility of all earthly striving. What is shown is a reference to something that cannot be seen in the image. Still-lifes are symbols, puzzles and suggestions concealing impacts. These dynamic properties and effects concealing impacts can be felt in the works of both Bettina Diel (*1975) and Roberto Grecos (*1984). Both want to evoke something, to make something visible and tangible and to have their suspicions confirmed. It almost acts as if it forms a sensually nervous sensibility of attractions, gestures or postures. The installations of Bettina Diel sees the artist strive to confirm her suspicions of the visual attraction through a haptic touch. She doubtlessly looks and observes with her hands. Where possible, her works even strive to go as far as to say that her hands tell her more than her eyes have to offer. Therefore, an unlimited number of symbols and interpretations are buried within all things. In Bettina Diel’s works, there is a strong desire to break out what lies within. A concealed gesture is held back, manipulated and made “still”. Yet it clearly shows its intention to flee, to leave behind its ordered plane and capture the attention and extol the variety of change. To melt away the values of order and to open up new experiences of being from the quiet of existing and fixed objects. It doesn’t disclose the location of the equilibrium and absolute stillness or quiet. The movement is equated to the change and therefore to the most general attribute of being. Still life? Who can live still? Doesn’t living always mean movement and discontinuity? The still-lifes from Roberto Greco also highlight a lively dynamic within a paradox. We can attempt to view still-lifes as clichéd, yet the stories that they wish to tell about exploitation, vanity, greed, compulsion and power resonate through the ages and are remarkably current. Roberto Greco’s works in no way distance him from the traditional, allegoric dimension of old masters. He too creates a moment of transition of irritation, suggestion and deception. He distracts the beholder’s eye by inflating certain details and thereby formally celebrating the search for meaning and significance. The still-lifes, which at first glance seem like stereotypes, break the traditional values of classic still-lifes. Bettina Diel and Roberto Greco both devote themselves to worldly things and actions. These things mean the world. They are the occurrences, actions, stories and gestures and can be an attribute of protection and safety. As created works, they can create an area of trust, they can also become the cypher of the unknown, help assumptions take shape or remain in the balance by hiding the concealed references. They can therefore be the closest thing humanly possible or withdraw to the undecipherable unknown. But what they certainly never are, is “still”.