Schwarze Bretter

Stewen uses photography as material. He photographs, edits, destroys, deconstructs, reassembles it to new classification systems. He links fragments of his watercolours with photos on Kodak photographic paper. Their light-sensitive surfaces, painted with watercolour amalgamate into blurred black surfaces, into a glued and sewn up pattern; everything in balanced competition.

The orignally light-sensitive, photoactive surfaces, where illusions of spaces could have spread in the light and dark of the incidence of light are closing. Stewen prevents the photographic image by counteracting the photomechanic process with pictorial gesture. He directs colour and lets it run. The observer may be attracted by the beauty of a changing black in different lights but at the same time he senses its hermeneutics.In a calculated composition Stewen covers the sheets that have been assembled to large formats with differently processed, perforated, sometimes only confetti sized fragments of his watercolours and photographic reproductions. He sets lines with seams, balanced between the different form elements, and lets protruding threads hang down within the picture or at the rim. The photographs used, all of them produced by Stewen himself, hint at Stewen as an en passant flaneur taking photos. There are images that appear recurrently as personnel of his surfaces: monkeys, palm trees, lalique vases. Actually items of industrial mass production, they appear extremely aesthetically charged in Stewen’s works. Always in new variations, modes of processing and formations he auratises and banalises. The photographic authorship disappears in constantly changing digital and analogue translations of material.

With the help of permanently alternating media and techniques Stewen reproduces an infinitely reproducible medium in a state of non-reproducibility. Every attempt to pursue a narrative thread in the net of fragments will lead into en empty space. Just like the seams. They connect and lead into nothingness. Every immersion into the depth will promptly lead back to the surface.