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Götz Valien - Undisguised Seduction

Category: Portrait 16. September 2009

Götz Valien calls himself a “picture-maker”. The term seems to refer to someone who produces a handicraft rather than a work of art. However, when one looks at his work as a whole, the self-designation “picture-maker” loses the crudeness that one might be tempted to initially expect.

It is not necessarily the same whether one paints pictures or whether one engages with the creation of pictures as a phenomenon through painting. As a picture-maker, Götz Valien is interested in the efficiency with which pictures release, whether emotionally, consciously, or unconsciously, that which is buried deep within us, in the same way figurative language can. In his work, he uses this effectiveness and at the same time, exposes it—that is the agenda behind his picture-making art.

The artist uses the wishful-thinking-oriented visual language of both our earlier and current entertainment and advertising industries—in particular, art deco. He freely borrows from their themes, breaking through these proposed dreams of reality by way of surreal exaggeration and the integration of typographic elements. The material context to which his pictures refer becomes the virtual image, the ideal. Reality is exposed as virtual realism.

"Whether it’s kitsch, cliché, advertisement, slapstick, or fine art, it must always seduce, but at the same time, this seduction must be undisguised in order to create a true ‘spiritual surplus’ ”, says Valien. In order to invoke such an impression on the viewer, as well as an awareness of the effect, he not only falls back on his experiences as a contemporary of a mediatised and populist world, but also on his historical knowledge of the technique of painting and how it has evolved according to art history. Art deco-like interior and exterior spaces, visions of modern life painted in the iconography of the 1920s, desires—beauty, exclusivity, wealth, passion, sensuality, sex, progress—which refer to the visual language of earlier times and the advertising iconography of today. The current art world is also referenced: " No Buy Oshi" grows in 20th Century Fox Intro-type characters (or Universal Pictures) into the evening sky, in the foreground is a woman out of control.

Born in 1960, Götz Valien grew up in Salzburg and currently resides in Berlin, where he works as a picture-maker, as well as as a cinema poster artist. For a long time, he says, he considered this handicraft to be separate from his art. However, upon closer examination, it has overlapped with his activity as a picture-maker of virtual reality.

Götz Valien’s poster work can still be seen on the front of the Kino International, as well as the Zoo Palast, his paintings have been exhibited at the Preview Berlin as well as at the Scope Miami, London, and New York. (wh/jn)

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