Thomas Hartmann is one of Germany’s outstanding contemporary artists. Until his retirement in 2018, he was professor of painting at the art academy in Nuremberg. Experimentation and a mixture of different styles are characteristic of Hartmann’s extensive body of work that spans more than four decades. In the 1980s, his paintings first attracted attention for their clear-cut forms and balanced colors, contrasting starkly with the works by the Neue Wilde artists (i.e. new Fauves) who back then were shaking up the Berlin art world.
Hartmann has since adopted an approach that centers on a gradual process of creation and on working with fragments. To start with, when he sets out to create a painting on canvas, everything is permitted. After this initial step, the actual work begins which involves defining, eliminating, and structuring. Each day, Hartmann develops more paintings than he requires. Later, once some time has passed, he cuts into or cuts pieces out of those canvases that do not stand the test of time. They are subsequently either destroyed, integrated into new works, or used in a different context.
In this artist’s book, Hartmann reviews his oeuvre and juxtaposes pieces in various ways to draw connections between them. It comes with a separate volume where he presents cut-out fragments of his works together with the original paintings which they previously belonged to.