Catalogue published by: Kunstverein in Rosenheim 2003 / Kunsthaus Hamburg 2004

The ghost of beauty is out haunting again. Aestehics seem to have been degraded
To a secondary factor in western art theories. W. Adorno quashed any opposition
To his verdict that, after Aschwitz, art couldn´t be more than black, bleak and ugly.
Art that orientales on traditional qualities such as the true, beautiful and good, reveals it´s self as an accomplice to Idiologies that predent to seek reconciliation where this is not possible.

Parallel to this since the 1960s under the motto of „linguistic turn“, scientific attemps have been made to replace Structuralism and contextual models. A further transition is now due, an opening up to imagery. There are good reasons For a „pictorial turn“. In the age of post-colonialism, minority cultures worldwide have come into focus. On of their major mutual characteristics ist he use of their specifics cultural sources.  Because English is closely Associated with colonialism, language alone can no longer mediate or create networks at a global level.
Ornamental and decorative features, such as tatoos and kitsch, have increasingly become identification symbols and signify membership of various groups. Sociological research studies them and they are part of a broad understanding of art. The summer exhibition „Accessoiremaximalismus“ at the Kunsthalle Kiel (North Germany) in 2003 displayed typical examples of this phenomenon. A central point of interest was Turcish youth. The blurb says that thay are developing hybrid idnetities on the edge of German society. The show was particularly concerned with the phenomena of fetishism and kitsch. The accessorise is important to artists who observe society critically and take note of processes that create it´s tastes. Artists and exhibition visitors alike were intimately engaged in the prossec. Barbara Kruger and Jeff Koons („I shop, therefore I am“) have obviously left their mark.
A further source of the „pictorial turn“ ist he unrelenting advance of media technologie and it´s use in visual art. Computer animation and other techniques developed for scientific research are seen diffently when their intended function and contents become secondary. The sensation of „newness“ is entirely sensoria and consists of pure imagery.
Artists and viewers, who are fed up with the exaggerated theorisation of art, stick to accustomed traditional standards. This standpoint is supported by museums. Conseuently, the practically unknown artist Jochen Hein was able to exhibit his photo-realist paintings for the first time at the Hamburger Kunsthalle. (Hamburg Art Museum). Dr. Christoph Heinrich, director of the „Galerie der Gegenwart“ (contemporary art dept.) said that the museum had sold five times more catalogues than usual. A Hamburg daily newspaper described a visit to Jochen Hein’s studio:“...music of the spheres, elusive clouds on the walls, 12 water paintings on the floor, leaves, bundles of grass and pieces of bark spread across the paintings.“ The article continued: „The 35 year old nature loving illustrator prefers to seek God’s creation, than be lost in fatalism and irony.“ What beautiful words.
The show was clearly in line with international trends. Over the last few years, Neo-Symbolist and Surrealist art movements have been firmly established. They have developed independently of the art, wich wich Boris Groy called „New Realism“ wich had dominated Dokumenta X. This dreamlike, hallucinatory kind of art is represented by names such as Peter Doig, Daniele Botti, Karel Knettel, Corinne Wasmuth and Amilie Wulffen. Even this year’s Biannual gave nostalgic recollections a broad platform. Impressive contributions were made in particular by: Jean-Marc Bustamante (F), Chris Ofili (GB), Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lensinger (CH) and Fred Wilson (USA).
At first glance, decorative elements and beauty appear to dominate Dieter Vieg’s works. He was born in 1958 in the Lower Rhine area of Germany. His erratic school carreer could out do Martin Kippenberger’s. When he was 25 he almost accidentally found a place in Prof. Baumgarten’s class at the Hamburg College of Art. This was the first course of study that he followed his own ideas and ook little account of accepter methods or concepts. Although he is still an outsider in the art business, this may now change.
His works are mainly characterised by rows of coloured dots and marks. He began „dotting“ in 1988. The „dots“ are hemispheres of paint, created with a type of syringe and set in grid-like compositions. Being 3 dimensional they give his work an almost sculptural character. Figurative elements are concealed in and beyond these patterns. Amongst the motifs he uses are: flowers, animals, man Ray’s „Mouth“ and local heroes such as the Hamburg St.Pauli football team goal keeper. His exhibition „Meine Pappen-heimer“ contains hidden portraits of his teacher who he has named his „Pappenheimer“. The works do not however always contain figurative elements. Many are purely concerned with a compostition of the pictorial surfae in dots. Whereas the larger canvases mostly consist of stringently ordered geometric patterns, the smaller works on paper often display interconnectiong cloud-like forms wich give the pictures of an eruptive character.
The paintings work in particular through a broad spectrum of colours, wich is under-laid with suggestive, seductive, glittering substances. It is tempting to think of ornaments and décor and this aspect appears to be confirmed by Vieg’s „on the spot“ experience of the Aborigine’s dot and sign language in 1990. A further explanation may however have to do with a girlfriends´ occupation. She worked on gene and molecular biology, studying the smallest indivisible elements, the prototypes.
Nevertheless, an indication of a search for the origins of existence is only implied and does not explain his work. Ornaments are important to Social Anthropology where attempts are made to discover connections between the patterns, symbols and structures of antediluvian social live, and the origins of mythical standpoints. An investigation of imagery´s roots and those of sign-language presupposes that a continuous mutation of ornaments, the “fashions“ of  a cultures and their adaptation fort the world´s religions, can lead back to prototypes. However, Dieter Vieg´s concept does not entail an analysis of this kind and indications of gene technology and ist scientific concepts also remain unclear. Those who hav previously written about to Pountillism and the pixels of digital imagery.
Vieg´s dots and their grid-like order do not appear to follow a plan. Their position appear to be „accidental“. According To Kandinsky´s famooooous differentiation, a line caan be extremely abstract and simultaneosly very concrete. Seen in the light of this statment, Dieter Vieg´s works stand fort he concrete. Contents and masseges are not to be found beyond his forms and colours. „I do not illustrate light, light illustratesmy paintings.“ Is Dieter Vieg´s credo.
Delving deeper into his work, the initial impression of beauty disappers. His dors become smal, ugly, pimple-like mounds aligned in a grid-like order. They are created with a syringe, an instrument used for  „cold“ sugery, and therefore gain a compulsive, latently aaggressive aaspect. It is not surprising that Dieter Vieg says: „I create my works in order to discipline myself.“ That, which originelly looked like a colourful game, become a trap. Dieter Vieg´s works mirror an innner, almost compulsive, restrict, suppress and overcome conflics. By nature these have no boundaries. Viewing  the  works with this in mind, they aappear to belong to a category of art,  associated with Hanne Darboven and  Christopher Wool. Grid-like forms, repetition  and repeated repitation indicate an attempt to  create „order“ as far as possible.
Dieter Vieg´s aparently formalistically paintings prove in fact to be works of a very personal nature that creat irritations And tensions. Vieg is not completely in trend, but that is good. A widely spread dicussion has been reoponed concerning the picture as an art form. This willl bring Vieg´s work into view and make it necesssary to differentiate his relationship to colour-field painting. It will become clear that is work is not limited to an artisttic treatment of surface. Dieter Vieg has eluded Adornos´ verdict. Beautiful art  can be ugly too. However, one mystery still needs solving: How can the „Papppenheimer“ simultaneously be in and behind their grid like structures. Dieter  Vieg mmust provide us with more clues if we are to solve this conflict.

Harald Falckenberg
August 2003