Departure - Street paintings

1932-1933

 

“Street paintings”

The “Street paintings” are Räderscheidt’s oil paintings and water colours in which people with lifeless, black and yellow contours march in echoing street spaces imbued with a translucent radiance or seem to be pulled away as if they were standing on the movable line tracks of an architectural stage.

The constructions have dreary, dark windows and form dangerous passages with many hidden, ever-changing openings. They seem to lie in wait for the human beings who have originated from their narrow hollow pattern and who have thereby gained a clearly distinct but in no way a natural space.

How to explain the sense of lurking danger in such a lifeless street? Even a painting can contain an explosive charge. It is identical with the ones in real life and yet exceeds both, painting and reality, by the powerful effect it creates. It makes it hard to distinguish between the two so that the viewer does not know anymore, which is stricter, more “real”: the street or the painting. Streets such as these are not simply backgrounds in the way a landscape or a street perspective would provide the natural environment, the neutral background for human figures in other paintings. Instead, Räderscheidt’s streets are involved; are hardly silent, contemplative nature anymore. The space they occupy in the paintings is their face which looks at us in the same way as the face of the walking people. We just have to correctly interpret what we see.

We don’t have a mere “view” in front of us, an easy and finished view which renders impressions as agreeable “as in a picture”, but the painting itself views us and returns our gaze when we look at it. Then, however, nothing is easy and finished, but rather, everything is unfinished, in movement, offensive; street and human figure band together and become a single frozen and tense face which challenges us and only slowly opens up.

This is the reaction of a painting which does not quietly lets us in but only gets involved with us once we have intruded. It initially opposes us with a resistance, with an impact, and forces us to strengthen our gaze so that we can get inside.

Closely linked to this movement is the fact that the painting’s perspective is never quite obvious yet does not fall victim to the horizon-less piecemeal world of constructivism.



1933 „Street painting II“ 1932
Oil on Canvas 100 x 80 cm


were about unknown


1933 Street painting III

Oil on Canvas 100 x 80 cm
were about unknown

1932 „Street painting II“ Oil on Canvas 100 x 80 cm

Privat collection

Aufbruch 33  Street painting 100 x 80 cm Oil on Canvas 100 x 80 cm

Musée d‘art moderne de la Ville de Paris

Anton Räderscheidt publicly called for a boycott !













right:
Die Strasse 1933
were about unknown

above:

Aufbruch 1933 Aquarell/Gouache
Privat collection

down below:

1932 Männer auf der Straße

Leopold-Hoesch-Museum

These paintings show even more forcefully than Räderscheidt’s gouaches the anonymity and the collective loneliness of the depicted human beings. Rigid figures in uniform are positioned in small groups as if on a parade ground and seem frozen with traumatic expectation, in an oppressive atmosphere which Räderscheidt subtly yet emphatically knew how to express four years before Richard Oelze’s famous painting “Die Erwartung” (“The Expectation” – New York 1936, Museum of Modern Art).

 

The extreme refinement and the prophecy of the painting’s subject matter are only fully revealed when the viewer closely observes the angle of the figures: they seem to tilt to the left, but when adapting one’s own position so as to be on the same level, they actually tilt to the right.

The seemingly random disposal of the figures, which are aligned in small formations, is a theme which will be amplified through several variations and culminate in the motive of a deployment of fascists “Blackshirts” in front of the Arch of Constantine in Räderscheidt’s 1933 painting “Via dei Trionfi”.

 

The inclined position of the figures, clearly tilting to the right – Räderscheidt’s succinct code for fascism – is reflected in the asymmetric, lopsided architecture.

Reality, which the figures initially gain by the fact that they cast long shadows, is suspended by the artist’s technique of painting.

Räderscheidt’s new manner of painting is more natural; it does not seek anymore to create illusions but aims, by providing colour with its own structure, at producing a diffuse two-dimensional surface. His method of painting is also changing in terms of composition. Whilst so far he strictly and decisively avoided any association of movement, he now creates an impression of dynamics by a visual structure which has become unstable to the point of breaking apart and whose single elements are still part of a construction but cannot support each other anymore.
Räderscheidt’s personal situation and the state of the world are mirrored in this instability and dissolution.