The idea for a painting invariably marks the beginning of my work. It dictates the form of expression I use. It does not matter whether the result is abstract, representational, photorealistic or surrealistic, whether the motif is originary, cited, collaged or composed. Regardless of the subject I choose one of the many possibilities of different forms of expression – in the end the score is a minor matter, what I care about is the performance that is to say the execution of the work and ultimately its energetic impact. The impact always has to live up to the subject.                                                                                                                            

GALLERY (DESK) | 2008 | oil on linen | 150 × 200 cm | © Michael Luther

What does this mean when it comes to GALLERY (DESK)? The painting which was hung on the very wall depicted in the painting, during my exhibition at a Berlin gallery, shows an arrangement I found on the spot: A gallery room between two exhibitions. Wrapped up paintings, leaning face against the wall, waiting to be collected. In front of them a table with a dark-green surface and on it a sheet of paper. In the right hand corner a flight of stairs is suggested – where it leads we do not know. The melancholic atmosphere and the suspenseful tranquility intrigued me. The old is drawing to a close, the new has not arrived yet – a vanitas motif.


In this image my everyday reality regarding the aspects of time, space and existence is reflected. Even though I was unaware of it at the time, in this everyday situation, so profane to me, a metaphor for my meaning of life was revealed: Who am I? Where do I come from? What do I do? This painting is - in the way that it is painted - a meditation on those questions. It is an attempt to create a maximum energetic impact that expresses my existential situation and its emotional and spiritual connections by using the sensual means of painting.                                                                                                                           

GREEN | 2015 | oil on linen | 120 × 120 cm | © Michael Luther

GALLERY (DESK) is on show in Palazzo Bembo together with the painting GREEN which is about half its size and the small scales (30 x 40 cm) ATELIER (24 PICTURES). GREEN with its almost monochromatic color, a plain, homogenous gradient from virtually black to dark-green, refers to the surface of the table depicted in GALLERY (DESK). ATELIER (24 PICTURES) corresponds both in motif and painting technique to GALLERY (DESK). It shows my working situation in the studio and documents – with GREEN and GALLERY (DESK) requoted in the painting – at the same time my preparation for the exhibition in Palazzo Bembo. GREEN fitsts in as an abstract painting between the two photorealistic works. They all share a meditative, melancholic mood and an expectant silence.                                                                                                                            

ATELIER (24 PICTURES) | 2015 | oil on linen | 30 x 40 cm | © Michael Luther

Michael Luther, Berlin, May 2015                                                               translated into English by Sirka Sander, Berlin