Viola Bittl


1 Oct 21 — 6 Feb 22

Eva Hesse, No Title, 1961; Viola Bittl, No Title II, 2020; Viola Bittl, No Title III, 2021 © Estate of Eva Hesse ⁄ Viola Bittl. Photo: Wolfgang Günzel

The art of Viola Bittl (b. 1980) derives its vitality from the oil paint — which for a long time remains “open”, i.e., can be changed, including by wiping or smearing. In a time-consuming process, the layers of paint only dry very slowly, requiring patience in the artist. Waiting presents her with a challenge, as well as time to reflect, to gather fresh impulses. Although Bittl’s painting appears clearly structured, it is in fact made up of countless layers applied one on top of another. Again and again she applies a fresh layer of paint, in glaze-like semi-translucent layers so that the composite traces of the brush gradually give rise to form. Her handling of forms is extremely varied. With her new works, she demonstrates that even when working on a large scale she is able to consign painterly forms precisely and surprisingly to the canvas. These works do not aim at spectacle, but convey a slow-working intensity that is absorbing. Her painting explores and questions abstraction’s potential in the present age: how and under what historical and artistic conditions can the abstract find expression today? Key to her practice is the elementary and shifting relationship between figure and ground. The selection of Bittl’s works on show here was made together with the artist, in response not only to her own oeuvre, but also to works by other artists in the collection.

The presentation was made possible by a working grant from the State of Hesse and support from the Freunde des Museums Wiesbaden e.V.


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