Bernhard Härtter's installation at Portikus consists of numerous individual pictures which he has lined up at exactly identical distances along the walls of the room. They are equally-formatted hardboard panels sized 11 x 11 cm showing overlapping coloured circles against a white background. The thin varnish Härtter used lends the pictures a shiny finish reminding one of tiles and indicating that the process of painting underlies a method of serial production. This is met with a very subtle application of colours, developed by Härtter intuitively and without conceptual models into an indeed endless range of variations. The differences between the individual pictures is additionally stressed by the way the panels are installed: they are not hung or pasted to the wall, but each one leans to the wall on a small plinth made of triangular batten. Their enormous multitude, however, effects an overall impression which itself is subject to a conspicuous order, and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to isolate a single picture from its context. This simultaneity of individual picture and overall structure directly refers the viewer to the specific type of presentation which shows ambiguous traits of an art exhibition as well as of functionally-oriented wall decoration. Härtter's installation therefore confronts the viewer with an inextricable linking of successive individuality and simultaneous incomprehensibility, determined by the specific spatial situation. "I understand the individual panels as elements that are autonomous in themselves, but conceived with regard to a certain effect or spatial atmosphere. The available wall surfaces are the natural limits of production that in itself has no limits and only comes to a halt once the surfaces are entirely filled. In producing the required amount of panels, I follow the most efficient method: the works are painted in combination and simultaneously. Of course this results in a sequence of individual elements along the wall, without, however, representing a temporally interpretable sequence or an illustration of a period of time or of the time required for painting. Decisive is the effect of the individual elements in combination with the entire wall. A short gaze by the viewer, a short attentive moment suffices. There is not necessarily the need to see anything more in it." (B. Härtter)

Bernhard Härtter, born in 1962 in Calw, studied in Freiburg/Br. from 1981 to 1988 as a master student under Peter Dreher. In 1988, he received the Förderpreis der Wirtschaft am Oberrhein and was the award-winner in the competition "Kunst an der Straße" ("Art in the Street") of the Federal Ministry of Traffic. He has been living and working in Frankfurt am Main since 1990.

Fotos: Katrin Schilling