The Surrealist artist Richard Oelze’s postwar enterprise was one of inner reflection and personal questioning linked to the broader project of coming to terms with the past. The essay takes a critical view of his artworks and his automatist Wortskizzen to assess the manner and extent to which Oelze utilizes his artistic practice as a mode of working through his, and Germany’s, complicity with the Nazi regime. Analysis of the Wortskizzen exposes how verbal probing informs Oelze’s visual expression of inner turmoil, while implied gaps and voids in paintings and drawings puncture space as well as time, illuminating memory and blending the past with the present. Oelze’s serious play with word and image in turn invites his viewers to release repressed memories through reflective contemplation.
Photo Credits: 1, 2 Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen. – 3, 4 Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Photo: Karen Blindow. – 5 Kunsthalle Bremen – Der Kunstverein in Bremen, Photo: Lars Lohrisch. – 6 Collection of Jessica Davis and Family, Colorado and photographer Gary Huibregtse. – 7 Art Institute of Chicago. – 8 Hamburger Kunsthalle through bpk/Art Resource; Photo: © bpk/Hamburger Kunsthalle, Christoph Irrgang. – 9 Köln, Museum Ludwig through rba/Rheinisches Bildarchiv; Photo: © Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, RBA 145 148. – 10 Berlin, Nationalgalerie through bpk/Art Resource; Photo: © bpk/Nationalgalerie, SMB, Jörg P. Anders.
© 2017 Eleanor F. Moseman, published by De Gruyter