work group pigment parallel index
work groups

martin wörn’s main theme is the effect of colors in their correlation and dependencies. in both work groups, black / black and pigment parallel, he sets only two colors next to each other in a greatly reduced design. with these reductions, our eye perceives the borders and edges more intensively. and thus, both colors now become active as they are observed: they begin to illuminate each other, gradually at first, then more intensively. this phenomenon generates a feeling of excitement and living vibration in the observer.
in the work group pigment parallel, painted panels are hung next to each other as pairs, and thus can also be connected to larger systems in the grouping. the paint stretches from the front even around to the sides of the canvas; the painted panels become bodies of color space.

the individual parts of the picture are all square, resting in themselves. the right part of the picture always has darker light value, thus concentration shifts to there. the balance of the painting surface is attained by the color intensity of the left part of the painting alone. and evidently, the surface interactions are limited by the bordering edges of the two painted panels. it becomes lighter or darker in this border area, both color squares increase reciprocally in illumination.

with this work group, martin wörn meticulously approaches the color values of rare pigments. some have been used during the renaissance, and some are taken from semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli or malachite. wörn prefers such old pigments, partly forgotten and no longer in use, for modern painting. Introducing uncommon colors into concrete art is especially appealing to him. thus, blue verditer is complimented by lead black, gold by lead sulfide, ultramarine ash by bister, azurite by blacksmith pulver, malachite by onyx, creating elite, illuminating color pairs. the pigments from semi-precious stones are sometimes as coarse as sand. wörn binds them with acrylic and methylcellulose, applying the paint smoothly with the brush onto canvas stretched over wood. the more compact and densely sealed the surface appears, the more difficult was the application of paint. only in very few cases the brush stroke is visible. and in these cases, the artist allows this visible brush stroke, he says „as a reverence to the pigment“.

the illuminating power of these precious pigments outshines there physical texture. wörn gives the paint material the greatest possible physical presence, simultaneously emphasizing its materiality, by applying the paint onto the squares with a particular color intensity and radiance.

in wörn’s work, one senses the exclusive priority of the paint. form is subordinate to color and has a serving function. wörn’s work is deeply anchored in the concrete art tradition, whose roots reach back to the constructivist beginnings of early modernity. the elaboration of a work group by martin wörn leads to the next work group, thus spreading the roots of this style.

(chris popovic, december 2000)