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Marie de Brugerolle



Markus Saile's new works convene the space of painting, in a subtle interplay between the space where it is situated, the space it represents and the space it constructs in dialogue with architecture. Beyond the in-situ and the context, it is an investigation into painting in volume, the depth of the surface, and the extension of this practice into a performative field of action.


Several edges are at stake in the work of Markus Saile. The ones of the painting as an object: a wooden panel, the ones of the walls on which they are hung and in between which they stand, in dialogue with the architecture of the place, the ones of the experience of vision in motion inside and outside the surface. The space of the gallery is a venue but also a place of actions, setting our ways of looking according to our behaviors.  

The paintings play with the edges of the wall in two modes at least, the « edge to edge » and the other which is going beyond the edge, and in a way « avoid the corner ». Here it is a matter of format, horizontality being attributed to landscape and a position of viewer looking at a fragment of nature, from an architectural space. 


What kind of architecture is this? The architecture of the gallery, which walls are not just standing panels but sections, portions of planes, that the painting breaks through. But also the painting as a structure, a grammar of forms. There are several edges, those of the literal frame of the painting: here not canvas stretched on a frame but a wooden board covered with white gesso and painted. The support gets primed then sanded. Afterwards Markus Saile starts with a monochrome allover layer. For him painting starts when color meets color, “with this layer painting process already starts”. 

The strata of sanded preparations in between layers deposit a silt of various shades on the sides of the painting. Lines, dots, stains and drips form peripheral micro landscapes. “The sides are getting in dialogue with the paintings because they are in the same hierarchy like the fronts of the other paintings” says the artist. Their presence is accentuated by the amalgams of paints which aggregate. Indeed, the paint becomes matter which goes beyond the borders of itself. It creates a new shape, in periphery.

They offer a lateral vision that gives to the margin a structural position of support. Not only technical but symbolic: it is the margins that holds the work. And this is repeated in the very configuration of the installation in the Mai 36 gallery. This is physically experienced by crossing the threshold. The way one painting is hanged inside the passage from room 1 to 2 expresses two ways of filling and feeling the border. Literally between two spaces but also from one wall to the next, which constitutes a gate. On the inside wall of the door, a grey painting (62 x 80 cm) stands literally between the two edges of the wall. But it plays also with its own border-lines which are seen first as a sliding movement. The patterns of the paintings play a push and pull effect which rebounds inside the surfaces. Large brush strokes with metallic appearance build a mesh of horizontal grey squares vibrating from deep grey to white, absorbed by the width of the internal wall. It abstracts the angle by repeating it.


Post-sublime, as there is no place for a unique point of view today (Übersicht) but always one painting and the corner of another or the plane of the wall. Glimpse, glance, are set in a bridge relation created by the viewer’s pace. Never isolated but in movement, the works are a constellation of various surfaces. They act as a grammar of forms which agglutinates and separates according to an open meaning. Litteraly, the paintings perform the space.

The large grey panel (92 x 77cm) functions as a push and pull effect at the scale of the wall. Its horizontal stripes look like a metallic palisade which is in fact woven with layers of brushstrokes. A maze playing with our gaze.

The lighting attracts our eyes, coming from the gesso through the transparent layers of paint. They are like analogue screens in a sense: what we see is what we see, not a re-presentation but an ongoing diffraction of painting facts. This is a non-representational painting which is not abstract. 

Dirty brownish layers are revealed by the passages of the brush, leaving thin blue lines among shading of greys, from violet to deep brown. The thin coloured paint creates a vibrato which informs the surface as not only a flat plane. The ongoing movement of the liquid glazes of its frictional structure added to the mix of colors give it an oxymoron sensation. Dark and glossy, dirty and shiny, drippings and straight lines build a dialectical vocabulary. This led us to think the deepness of surface.  

The front layers « grow » on borders and the matter extends the support and might create a shape beyond the painting, with new borders over the borders. They are post-medium, new materialist paintings. 

VORTEX EFFECT beyond analogue screen

As the artist says, they are “analogue screens”. This leads us to rethink the idea of painting as a curtain at the age of screen-times. Indeed, most of our common fingers’ gestures are sliding smooth loops on a flat screen, horizontaly and vertically. Meanwhile, the way we perceive the question of architecture is addressed not only in the sense of the space where the work is located, situated, but also inside the construction of the painting (layers, gesso) as a structure. Back and forth, like zooming-de-zooming, this creates a space and deepness. Several planes forwarded to the front, but also toward something like a volume. This is why small formats work as strong as the large ones. They are structured by the gravity of tensions. This works for the small ones with a diamond shape over a square like if two similar figures are twisted. Here high and low are not anymore a meaningful order. Especially in the conic last room where stands a unique painting, we can experience the vortex effect of losing directions habits. The windowless room configuration is trapezoidal. This is a triangle with an angle cut. Inside this basic pyramid space, the rectangle painting seems like a baroque shield floating. This time the pattern doesn’t go from one edge to the next border of the plane. It is more as a bouquet of bends viewed from above, as a bird’s eye view. The white concrete space of the MDF wooden stucco space supports layers of curve strips ribbons as brush strokes. The transluscent oil glazes describe a Moebius strip.

Indeed, if the screen could be a metaphor of the way we see the world today, here the 3D effects « grow » along the face of the paintings up to the walls, corners, and ceiling/floor, in relation to our viewers look progression. A peripheral volume, linked to the real architectural context is an expansion of the painting action. Expanding somehow physically from the actual overflow of paint which becomes a new volume when it dries towards the painting as a set itself. Not a window upon history or fiction anymore, but a screen to see painting facts. These are cinematic, whirlpool and vertigo procedures.

It is one of Roger Caillois’ game categories, the one of ilinx. It consists of turning like a spinning top. The swirls are aggregates of the small commas which punctuate (111 x 99cm) other works. So there would be two volume/3D effects, one as a tunnel/vortex frontal effect, and one peripheral extension, lateral effects, suspended by the layers.

If we speak about volume, one thing strikes us, which is the extrusion process, like in the 3D programs. It might be a link to the way Markus Saile creates volume in one brush movement, like they do on Blender to create forms. Instead of putting a series of points together in a line, which is the drawing perspective work, one brush flow creates a plane in one gesture. Here the paintings are thoughts in this contemporary context which is not anymore about questions of re-presentations but hybrid relations.


Then the in between space, in between the paintings, creates a political space where we stand and move, as viewers, and this would link to the post-performance painting. A painting which is a source or destination of a body action. Here the twist between the window metaphor of the painting as a means to see inside to outside but also from outside to inside is replaced by the wall to wall, slide to side effects. Also, a window is the square that you open in your computer when you want to see several things at the same time which is a way of layering a screen surface, too. Today, pictorial problems are architectural problems, in the sense of a socio-political structure.

It is about how it is made and how it is looked at. The viewers are the medium in as much as brushes, soft operators.


EDGE TO EDGE: from the in between of paintings (as stage, set, architectural possible configuration) to the in between of actual architectural spaces in which we stand, Markus Saile extends the exhibition walls to the outside. Painting spreads beyond the borders of a strict medium definition but also expands in utopian spaces, within the painting process. 

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