All existence is change
The Job-theme in the work of Gero Hellmuth
The swinging line has grace and power at the same time, harmony and energy. And the arc suggests three-dimensionality, just like the movement of the one creating it is performed in a space. Gero Hellmuth’s creative work is mainly based on his drawing ability. And it is the sophisticated mastery of what would be, even at a lower quality level, the basic prerequisite of all creative work, which makes the sculptures of this artist stand out. The line as a testimony to attitude, its variety of expression as a testimony of ability. If this applies to the line in painting and the sculpture as well as in drawing, then it consequently has to achieve a variety of things. There is not merely the initial swelling and the disappearance upon taking off, or the parallel bars resulting from repetitive movement, but the coexistence creates atmosphere, a pitch that can actually be considered as musical, even if some titles don’t refer to music. It is no surprise that Gero Hellmuth is able to express himself as a musician as well. However, his pictures are not orchestral, but they live on the subdued wealth of sounds; it is not the strong colours that make for a contrast, but brightness and darkness. Not only the swinging lines and brush strokes appear to be floating, but also the tendency to release the compressed form onto the empty surface: Isolation and concentration. Veiling, smearing, valeurs, the play of bright and dark lines make the shapes transparent and render their existence transitory: All existence is change. That which appears to be three-dimensional due to the experience of the lines in the paintings actually reaches into the room in the object installations: Bars and ring fragments cross and bundle up, penetrate each other and may answer to the fleeting touch of sounds. The image goes beyond itself, the rhythmical submission of the load-bearing foundation is countered by the free motions of things attached to it, such as crossing lines, reaching out from the limited format of the surface into the surroundings. A centrifugal tendency inherent in concentration. Finally, even the metal reliefs – iron and wood – are defined by lines, as perspective as they may be, and this is where the variety of linear appearances are the most fascinating. Yes, it is the draughtsman turned sculptor, controlling room and body with the line. There is the sawing of individual areas and their slight and wider staggering to each other, there is the bulge of cutting edges, the sidelight giving them a plastic appearance, there is the crease in the surface itself, and there are drawn traces, jumping over the resistance like an eraser, and even here they are filled with darkness. And there is rolled out sheet metal with free metal poles spanning over it, contributing their shadow play in front of those areas, in which openings let the shadows become even deeper. Oftentimes, wood puts figured accentuation to the front, it is always recognizable in the background. It takes on the role as static counterpart of the energetic concentration and expansion taking place in iron. Complete control of materials and means, finding forms and impulses: it is the authorization to dramatic demand. No noise, nothing comes apart at the seams, but gravity and fatefulness, as stated by the contents, are making themselves known touchingly. They are generated tremors translated from personal consternation into an autonomous language. They are controlled. They are prudent, they have taken shape before the critical eye. The onlooker becomes witness to a clarifying dialogue. There’s a penetration even in brooding, and even through deepest darkness, the path does not lead into something nebulously incomprehensible, but it gives rise to realization, incomprehensible as it may finally seem. Gero Hellmuth knows that expression has to be generated by form. That is, what art can and must accomplish. Anything beyond that would be evil. And whether a painting requires a wealth of forms or if it can be fulfilled in the concision of a formula is the specific economics of art, in which these kinds of demands come from the picture and the one who succeeds submits to them. Gero Hellmuth knows that as well, which renders his work necessary even for the one approaching them.