Casual Encounter

Andrea Jahn (Saarbruecken, 2017)


It is about a reconstruction of reality as urban space. Jost Münster who lives in London, works with subtle changes. These include shades mixed with white, dissolving the defamiliarizations, or also the slight shifts of geometric form that undermineits strict structure. In other cases, Münster places his painterly objects in front of the wall. They take on three-dimensional qualities or feign plasticity. The wall becomes the place of transition and the overlapping of rival systems.

We can imagine the beginning of his artistic processes roughy as follows: a trip on the tube - rows of houses, urban architecture (grey) facades, (garishly colourful) walls of advertisements, lighting, shadows, reflections, space, backdrops gliding past… When Jost Münster transfers these impressions to the canvas, translating them into colour and form, then a process of coagulation takes place that manifest itself on the picture plane. The space occurs in a different place on the plane and becomes truly visible there for the first time. Since „the experience of space is tied to a separation from space", says Münster. In his studio the crucial movements happen „when the form or construction has abandoned its original meaning - by means of abstraction, simplification of form, other colours - and transitions into a new form, meaning, signs".

We encounter in his series New Neighbours, in which his theme is the visual world of real urban space. The works in the series present themselves as independent characters, self-confident and individual, bound together in close neighbourly association through their format and arrangement. They confront us in finely-tuned coordinated colour tones and geometric abstractions to entangle us in a polyphonic conversation.

In no way does this painting suffer from the excessive competitiveness that plagues virtual images, which we have become used to 'swiping' through on our smartphones. Rather they demonstrate, precisely through their complexity, a multi-dimensionality that point simultaneously into and out of the canvas, to spirit us away into a spatiality arising purely through the materiality of colour. Sometimes it is a labyrinth in which the colours play a game, with us as their pawns. Münster also employs the architecture of the space to affect these shifts in perception, when in the installation Together for Now (2010) he purports to allow us to frame the work from our own very different angles and perspectives. Thus the exhibition space itself becomes part of the painterly works, which record and reflect it in their objecthood.

Just like his paintings, Münster's small objects from his most recent series Cavu (2016/17) experiment with colour and the painted surface. These are collages made of wood, canvas, and cardboard, to which the artist affixes the results of his colour experiments as if they were found objects - appliquéd, painted, or sprayed on - and always also bearing the traces and markings that they have accumulated over a years-long development process in the studio. In these works, painting and sculpture, space and surface combine. Münster thus belongs to a generation of artists who have made it their task to explore the limits of what painting can be today.

Canvas strips from earlier paintings encounter wooden panels which have already had a life as works of art. This encounter is sustained by colours, which the artist uses to interconnect the different levels, spatial elements, and surfaces - forming a painterly object that demands special attention from the viewer. They follow an aesthetic language that associatively evokes urban space, with grey pieces of wall, sharply colourful advertisements, dark window openings, and mirrored facades.

What Jost Münster captures in his objects are metaphors for experiences with and within the city, which prove deeply individual and subjective - poetic traces of an interchange that plays out through painting on multiple levels and continuously rewards our sensitive approach with new surprises.


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Marked and Unmarked Spaces

Ralf Christofori (2017)


Jost Münster's oeuvre combines painting and sculpture, three-dimensional space and two-dimensional surface, appearance and reality. His works include formats as diverse as small, postcard-sized sketches, large canvases, fragile room dividers, and massive sculptures. But at the core Jost Münster's art is always about painting and the limits of painting. In other words: Münster always starts with painting and he always returns to it in the end.

His most recent works represent different states of modernity. They can be described as reliefs or collages, even when painting remains their essential visual means. But they gain a whole new quality exactly by how they differ from collages and from objects. At least from a distance the observer can hardly distinguish whether they are compositions of self-contained coloured fields and color carriers, or paintings with one continuous surface.

Münster takes his motives almost exclusively from real-life environments. In a first step, he separates the motives from their context. Each isolated motif is rendered individually in small form and color sketches - now the form has found its way into painting. In a second step the artist puts this vocabulary of forms into a new context with very different terms of reference. How does the form stand up to being painted? How does it relate to other forms in various formats? And what happens when suddenly a room opens up behind the two-dimensional forms?

Through this process Jost Münster adds and subtracts painterly and artistic elements, some of which heighten each other's potential. Painted surfaces crash against or slide over each other. What emerges is a material and at the same time visual depth reminiscent of the motifs' origins: facades, windows, gates, piles of pallets and deserted industrial landscapes. But Jost Münster does not intend to recreate the obvious by other means. Instead he uses the supposed significance of what can be seen as a kind of relay between the real, the material and the painted space, between the individual elements and their composition, and last but not least between the painting and its object.

Jost Münster's position is thus quite singular within painting; it becomes a visual and even haptic experience.