Colour and composition are the axes around which Emanuel Seitz’s painting revolves.
Faint shapes were prominent in the first series of his work, later developing into a world of greater geometric orthodoxy in which triangles, rectangles and circles were encapsulated amongst patterns and prints. In more recent works, vertical lines, at times defined but often unfinished, have occupied the surfaces of the canvases in highly varied chromatic compositions.
Now, for this fourth exhibition of Seitz’s work at Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, geometry continues to be the main element of the painting, but the shapes that unfold across the pictures gain autonomy and become bodies that spark a centripetal oscillation that is repeated in each of the works. The shapes are now directed towards the inside of each of the paintings and despite being discontinuous forms, fragmented at times, they produce a constant circular movement that supports the picture and allows it to rebound against itself.
In this Newtonian mechanism, within which the functioning of the pieces painted on the canvases is organised, the force of the bodies, of changing speed, fluctuates between the static nature of the horizontal or vertical and a circular acceleration that prevents the painting from happening outside itself. Covered in incomplete lines that allow a view of the backgrounds and contours of each figure, the shapes, whether emerging from behind or standing firm against the background, clumsily occupy a space that seems to have been built specifically for them. The execution of the backgrounds, almost dazed, distorted, creates gaps that are filled with fragments or undefined chips. The use of colour, the harmony between the parts, the way in which each tone is painted with a particular cadence, from the grainy line to the most fluid, conveys an elegant game in which the chromatic combinations do not respond to a fixed idea of beauty or comfort but rather to a harmony in an intuitive phase in which the colours change and multiply between the homogeneous and the indistinct.
There is an apparent lack of precision that nonetheless comes from the opposite space: each piece occupies a precise place. In a letter that Henri Matisse’s secretary, Lydia Delectorskaya, wrote to the Tate Gallery in London on 30 March 1976, describing the artist’s process for the work L’Escargot (1953), it is surprising that, despite the misleading appearance of paper cut-outs thrown or distributed almost at random, she alludes to the millimetric precision with which Matisse guided his assistants to situate each shape in its exact position. The shapes in these new paintings by Seitz generate, as though in intervals, with bursts of acceleration and sudden stops, an ill-adjusted rotation. In a sense, it is a slightly altered version of Elementarism. In 1925, Theo van Doesburg stated that: ‘Just as Elementarism tries to bring the two factors, statics and dynamics (rest and movement), into a balanced relationship, so equally does it strive to combine these two elementary factors, time and space, into a new dimension.’
In terms of time and space, Emanuel Seitz’s work frequently responds to a vision. The figures and colours obey a fleeting apparition that, as soon as it appears, disappears. It is ‘captured’. This produces a gradation in which the energies, precisely those that take refuge in that idea of a vision, disclose the shape. Colour and composition, as previously stated, are not conscious but stem from the vibration or pulse from which the painting is constructed.