C.A.M Gallery presents Dieter Mammel 'DIVA'
Dieter Mammel, 2012
'This is life itself. This is movement caught in the act. The movement on the screen seems to actually reproduce life. And for one short moment, what we see seems to be wrested from the fatality of its impermanence.' With these words, La Poste conveyed the impression made by the first public film screening in Paris, 1895.
The Dieter Mammel's paintings have the same initial impact. The Berlin artist is being presented for the third time in the C.A.M. Gallery in Istanbul, this time with his DIVA Cycle.
His portraits on canvas, with their watercolor-like, melting flow, their spontaneous brushstroke gestures that blur the contours, express an immediate momentariness. The subjects are lost in reverie as though disappearing behind their own mirror images.
As a painter and a film enthusiast, Mammel now shows us well-known faces, 'divine' film personalities. In his own unique painting style, he brings together past and present, the collective and the individual, the near and the far, history and story. Subterranean layers of the past underlie his current paintings and rumble beneath the thin varnish of a monochromatic world.
And so the unapproachable DIVA radiates a direct presence. An expression of utmost intimacy enlivens the magical, divine manifestation. Before going on stage she looks at herself in the mirror. Putting on eye make-up or lipstick, she pays her respects to painting.
Whether in the great 'Water' cycle, in which his figures submerge in the medium of ink painting, or here, with this gesture of painting and the drawing of contours, Mammel repeatedly refers back to the origin of his being and acting in the world. In this way he achieves a high degree of authenticity.
We believe him. Believe what we see.
But in the final measure, it is only ink on canvas, the painting of light and shade.
Maxim Gorky, 1896, upon viewing the first film images: 'That's not life – it's the shadow of life.'
What is divine about the DIVA, and about painting, too, is that she breathes so much life into the shadow. The imprint on our memories is vivid and lasting.