DAG

Current exhibition: Against Nature. Group show for focusonabstraction, April 30th — May 5th. Pavillion am Milchhof, Schwedter Str. 232, 10435 Berlin. View details

On Grids and Fault Tolerance

by Christoph Tannert (2008)

Reality, as DAG sees it, is a grid, just like the building fences and barriers in the city that restrict our view and conceal the irritating uncertainties behind them. This artist is a magician who is not afraid of recoiling in the face of audacious structures or transporting the observer into outlandish worlds: even if this causes our pupils to roll, as they do in his wall murals, or to penetrate the patterns of broken uniformity within us.

For all the meticulousness of their manufacturing process, each of his works is an unpredictable Gestalt phenomenon. This is probably due to the flicker––rising from the uniformity of exploding moments––that makes his canvas-square so interesting. In this case, it is colour that gets the decisive points across. DAG often works with brush markers: he is obsessed with unmixed colours. He prefers shopping in building markets than artists’ stores. In his works, we generally find the picture formats 80 x 80 cm and 140 x 140 cm.

We become aware that diminution and magnification perspectives, as well as closeness and distance to grid elements are––as two extremes––not fundamentally different from one another. His curious wide eyes are allowed to open unpunished and to discover their own world. Here, his seemingly aimless glance evolves into a selective act of classificatory and analytical penetration. The eye is the decisive moment of realisation. DAG zooms in and out. With Torso, he goes the whole way. He derives his macro-models from his micro-basis. One level is inextricably linked to one another. They stimulate one another and say lots about each other. Presumptuousness, it is alleged, becomes a likeness of the absolute. In actual fact, one ought to say that the microcosm is the macrocosm: for it is precisely this awareness that underscores the unity of the aesthetic concept.

DAG’s pictures acquire their fascination in that field of tension between abstraction and concretisation. In his case, morphogenesis is an open process which, depending on the occasion and the local challenge, seeks a panel-painting on one occasion and its overall direction in a colour-form-process on a club wall on another. In this way, the guides his audience through generously and diversely arranged structural fields: from the minuscule to the monumental, and from the space into the room. In so doing, he gives his viewers an opportunity to breathe deeply and to grasp the beauty of the details. The miracle of mutation and the functionality of the optimal form.

His art is self-sufficiency: his message calls for a maximum of self-referentiality. Is this why it is so free from any meaning? Certainly not! Generating patterns, creating modules, the modest beginnings that lie in their pixel character, and the offensive mural design that wants to break with patterns and is less well-tempered and less homogenous––both satisfy the slow-burning principle and seek to slow down the eye.

Anything that seems so barren, so geometrical and so rational is conceived structurally to oppose boredom and to deal playcolsy with mistakes––no matter what their nature. In this way, new impulses are created constantly. Errors serve as animators. DAG is, by his very nature, an incredibly dynamic guy, and constantly in motion. His pictures do not necessarily call for fixation, but they do invite us to change speed. If we grasp DAG's pictures as action contexts, we discover that they are not perfectly programmed sets of rules. Instead, they speak with incredible ease about successful mistake management.

In DAG’s latest works, his tendency to individualise the grid has become very striking. By applying colourful highlights to individual pictorial elements, he creates new accents. What might be described as an internalised drawing in a field of tension between objectivity and a loss of objectivity now marks the beginning of the dissolution of surfaces Is something emerging here––or going into decline? Who cares! With his attitude, DAG emphasises his own pleasure in protest. He extends his visual vocabulary. And order is disorganised with pleasure.