All existence is change
The Job-theme in the work of Gero Hellmuth

Franz Joseph van der Grinten

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.