Julius von Bismarck
Landscape Painting

Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf

To me Landscape Painting doesn’t mean to paint a landscape on a canvas, but to paint a landscape in one's own mind, construct a landscape and thus influence the landscape.

Julius von Bismarck

Landscape Painting (Quarry)

IN HIS LANDSCAPE PAINTING REALISED IN 2021, JULIUS VON BISMARCK CREATES A PICTURE NOT OF, BUT IN THE VOLCANIC LANDSCAPE HE HAS CHOSEN. HE THEREBY ELIMINATES THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN THE ARTIST SUBJECT AND THE OBJECT TO BE PAINTED: INSTEAD OF CREATING A DISTANCE IN ORDER TO PLACE THE LANDSCAPE AS A MINIATURE WITHIN THE PAINTING, HE ENTERS IT, DISSOLVES THE DISTANCE TO HIS IMAGE, ATTEMPTS TO MASTER ITS SIZE AND PHYSICALLY CONFRONTS ITS MONUMENTAL DIMENSIONS IN ORDER TO FINALLY CONQUER IT. THE RESULTING PICTURE OF THE LANDSCAPE, CREATED BY THIS BRUTAL ENCOUNTER AND PERFORMED THROUGH THE BODY, BECOMES PROOF OF THIS STRUGGLE WITH THE SUBJECT AND SHIFTS THE TOPOS OF AN ARTIST'S INNER STRUGGLE WITH HIS OBJECTS TO THE EXTERIOR.

For a long time, the quarry was a typical subject of artistic production. By looking at quarry studies - from Albrecht Dürer and Casper David Friedrich to Paul Cézanne and Paul Klee - we may reflect on whether we want to consider the environment as pre-human existence and nature or as the idea of a condition that takes human intervention into account. Albrecht Dürer, an innovator of landscape painters, alongside his rock studies, devotes himself to the sculptural landscapes of former and active quarries, which are the result of human intervention rather than evidence of topographical circumstances.

Romanticism, which brings about a completely new form of landscape painting, intentionally elevates all existence into the realm of the sublime. Thus, according to the poet Novalis, it was necessary to give the ordinary a higher meaning and the commonplace a mysterious prestige. Caspar David Friedrich's Quarry near Krippen of 1813 or his painting Tombs of the Old Heroes of 1812 show human intervention in the quarry as beautiful wounds inflicted on nature by man's desire to exploit materials.

Detail, Landscape Painting (Quarry day), 2021

Copyright the artist; VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn; Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf

Quarries have always fascinated me as wounds of landscape. They have something fascinatingly beautiful and show a very early moment of human kind's intervention into nature.

Julius von Bismarck

In an etching and a drawing the illusion of three-dimensionality is created by strokes. Therefore, I paint strokes directly onto the landscape, take away its natural color and force the human gaze onto it.

Julius von Bismarck

JUNGLE / DESERT / FOREST

Landscape Painting (Desert) und Landscape Painting (Jungle) show painted landscapes—a desert scene with cacti and rocks and a jungle scenario. The artist traveled to two locations in Mexico, where he selected an appropriate segment of land and organized a team of local helpers. He paid these helpers to first paint the landscape white and then to overpaint the landscape again in its original colors with acrylic paint. These painters reconstructed the colors of their local surroundings from memory. The photographs resulting from this intervention are composed of multiple detail views and thus result in extremely high-resolution images (> 400 MPx). Upon closer examination, one can find the layer of acrylic paint that covers leaves, thorns, sand, and other aspects of the landscape. Since only these surfaces are visible, essentially all that one sees is plastic in the form of an acrylic coat of paint. These two painting processes are each documented by thirty-minute videos. In the jungle, Maya Indians paint various green tones onto the whitened environment, leaf by leaf. In the desert, local agricultural workers paint the stony cactus-covered landscape over a period of seven days.

Landscape Painting (Forest) shows a painted landscape in Russia. Julius von Bismarck travelled through Russia and organized a team of local helpers, who first painted the landscape white and then overpainted the landscape again with acrylic paint in its original colors. They reconstructed the colors of their local surroundings from memory.