Automatic Target Recognition: Julius Göthlin

3 June - 3 July 2016

Julius Göthlin is drawn to difficult tasks. He seeks out challenges in order to overcome them and to find a path into the unknown.


To follow his process has been fascinating. He has not, like most of his contemporaries, worked with video or sculpture; instead he has chosen drawing and painting for his medium. But while he is trying to force the three-dimensional into two dimensions he is hesitant to let the marks of his hand be known to the viewer.


Before, he used to cut and paste painted strips of paper into minimal building blocks for large abstract compositions. The purpose was to investigate how barely visible gradients in a complicated pattern of repetitions can trick the brain into experiencing movement; to suggest a third and a fourth dimension.


But all the while working in a constructivist tradition, he also came to transcend it. Within these beautifully serene yet volatile compositions lies something concealed and treacherous. The minute and grandioses attention to detail served to caption the cruelty of existence.


And then suddenly, he took a leap from the precise,into the far and the unknown. After years of spatial research he superseded his methodic structure and started (via graffiti?) to spray-paint large canvases with breezy blueish-black colours.


And so what was this? Instead of constructivist cool - the overheated cloud congestions of Gustav Doré?


Julius Göthlin had constrained himself with the straight-jacket of process so that he could learn to master both himself as well as the tradition, in order to overstep the accepted boundaries. His style became organic rather than technical. Sensuous and grotesque, with associations to the rhythm of bodies, as well as to the outer and inner depths; a transition from macro to micro-cosmos.


And now he is letting chance play a role. The canvases are wrinkled before the painting begins. Creases, pebbles and dust leave their mark. The material leads the way.

But even as I, the observer, am tossed into a chaos I come to realise that there is a hidden connection between the earlier and later works. The corset of comprehension that the artist so skillfully embraced is starting to appear very much like the troublesome hypothesis that there is order to be found in chaos.


The very idea of existence?


/ May 2016 / Ingela Lind, author and art critic

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