In Komposition in Grau (rue de beton), presented for the first time in summer of 2010 in the form of a film, and remaining since then in a state of perpetual development, Martin Flemming is dealing with formal languages of modernism. The works in the exhibition meander through various states, materials, and contexts of meaning: the film shows forms, which are refracted through the countless mirrorings of a kaleidoscope, accompanied by the rattling of a projector. From among the filmfs moving images, the artist singles out momentary individual states and allows them to emerge sketchily into three dimensions as objects. As though stranded there by chance, a number of these geometric bodies loom up from the gallery floor. A wall painting measuring 4x12 meters halts this continuous play of moving forms - this time, however, in the form of a twodimensional ornament.
Translated literally, the word "kaleidoscope", in Greek καλός είδος σκοπέιν, means "to see beautiful forms". In his works, the artist takes up various forms and tendencies from modernism, assembling them now into a new and altered composition. With its echoes of ornamental and architectonic formal idioms, the film establishes connections to the early experimental film of the 1920s.
By having recourse to the mathematical principle of mirroring which is deployed in the kaleidoscope, Flemming develops a constructive and at the same time playful and fortuitous strategy of formal invention. Generated and reflected in a number of stages and through a variety of media are characteristic elements of Brutalism, including the articulated exposed concrete surfaces and geometric physicality of this architecture. All elements are united by the color gray. It is a visual stimulus: darker than white, paler than black, somewhere in between, without its own chromatic identity . a non-colored color. The designation of the individual gradations as pure gray or neutral gray are intended to emphasize that no particular tint is present; only its luminosity accounts for its special character. The creative potency lies in the light - and in the reaction of the beholder.
Le Corbusier, the architect of modernism, characterized exposed concrete, an amalgam of sand and cement, as a material which "is worthy of being displayed in its natural appearance. Absolutely true to itself, having total exactitude in comparison with cast materials; exposed concrete is a material that never pretends to be anything else."1 But in Martin Flemming´s presentation, nothing is what it seems. With every step, the stages of his construction challenge their own originality and materiality. The works in the exhibition merely mime the structure and appearance of exposed concrete. The film is a drawing, the camera trajectory surrenders to the blurriness of the kaleidoscope. The works in the exhibition allow new forms to be seen, they confront the beholder in encoded form, and are at the same time directly accessible - are highly focused in their very blurriness.
Martin Flemming (*1982 in Weimar) lives and works in Berlin. He began his studies at Bauhaus University in Weimar and transferred to Stadelschule in Frankfurt am Main in 2004. In 2009, he became a master student of Tobias Rehberger. Ever since he has been participating in various group and solo presentations in Germany and Europe. In 2011, he was awarded the EFH scholarship by the Kronrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
1 Quoted after Yves Bouvier, Christophe Cousin: Ronchamp. Eine Kapelle des Lichts, Besancon 2005, p. 50.