‘Nur Zwei’ by Berthold Reiß at Loggia, Munich
Berthold Reiß, Islamischer Bogen (Kopie), 2017
Berthold Reiß, Knien, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Zugang, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Karte, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Tempel (Frau), 2017
Berthold Reiß, Osten, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Drachen, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Ranke, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Kamin, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Aquarell, 2017
Berthold Reiß, Wald, 2017
“In August I had made a space to look at something, and especially during September, works developed that didn’t exist before…I mean, you come, alone or with Yves-Michele, if you have time amid your build-up phase. Call me…It can also be very quick!”
Said and done. It was Monday or Tuesday, perhaps it was Wednesday? I cannot recall when exactly. But I picked up the phone and called Berthold’s number on his landline number. It rings — when had I actually last rung a landline? The only landline that I call are my parents’, my work or various offices.
«Hi Berthold, this is Stefan!“
We make an appointment at 11am that same day. It’s one of those days when you don’t want to leave the house. It is raining heavily and water is clapping on the windows, distorting the view outside. However I tell myself- “It doesn’t matter, let’s get it started!” I slip into my brand new white sneakers, pull on my oversized black raincoat. Pattering me, raindrops pour over my shoulders down to the shoes. I sprint to the tram and head directly to the Westend.
Rößner/Reiß. A warm welcome! Anne takes off my soaking jacket and brings it to the bathroom to dry. Both the studio and kitchen can be reached via a long corridor, a wall-high bookshelf lining the right and pictures made by befriended artists decorate the wall on the left. A drawing by an eight-year-old Berthold stands in front of us. The hallway bends to the left.
«Would you like a coffee or tea?»
Berthold draws the ground beans from a red tin box. Seemingly to be of oriental origin, I already noticed the box on a previous visit, adorned by a specific female figure as an advertising medium. Every time the coffee is all used up he refills the box again and again.
In the studio. Already lying on the work table, Berthold opens a large folder. Mountains of watercolours, arranged chronologically. Tissue paper placed between every sheet, details each page with a year and month. It is a pre-selection of works for the exhibition planned at Loggia. Muted colours. Oriental-looking forms. Figuration merging with architecture. Components break through the horizon. Four watercolours hang on the wall. Unframed. The paper warped by the wet paint. The works rising upward become part of the rooms architecture. «only two» — a transmitter and receiver. Space and plane. Image and language. There is more behind the alleged casually chosen title, which generates a wealth of speculation. Within it are tangible motifs that seem quite logical.
«In Schwanthalerstrasse I saw a heating engineer’s white car with a red open-fireplace, black inside with a yellow flame and two palm trees on both left and right.»
Conversely, references to the Orient and the past remain incomprehensible- as he explains: “but Römisch is not Roman, Drei, grün is not romanesque…In the Karte there is both a horizontal and a vertical surface.” Leaf by leaf, we browse through his dossier, aligning images to one another. We try to put older watercolours in context with current works. He quotes from Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason or the precursor Dissertation on the Form and Principles of the Sensible and the Intelligible World, he refers to Frederick II of Brandenburg and tries to provide me with further insight into his cosmos of image genesis. Weeks later the pictures and words echo in my mind. Not unlike in 2013, when I saw Berthold’s show for the first time and images like Äon and Vision haunted my head for a long time to come.