The Balance of Feelings - On the Art of Gabriele Sädler
by Siegfried Gohr

What does it mean when a work of art is classified by the term “abstract”? It seldom implies a complete rejection of the figurative. Even in the non-figurative compositions of Kazimir Malevich, his flying forms suggest a space, which is then occupied by coloured objects. Or, in the case of Piet Mondrian, only his so-called lozenge compositions – the square canvases tilted 45 degrees, so they hang in a diamond shape – supersede all references to the horizontal and vertical. Otherwise, his abstract, grid-based paintings are architectural in the broadest sense. Whilst geometric abstraction mostly includes a social-utopian dimension, Wassiliy Kandinsky’s abstract works had a more “lyrical” aim. Their proximity to music often leads to their being described as poetical, whatever this might mean for individual pieces.

Just the few examples given here demonstrate how diverse that which we call abstract truly is. Paul Klee and Hans Arp added new, organic facets which soon led to an abstraction stemming from the gestures of the artist, for example in the work of Wols and his American contemporaries Pollock, de Koonig and Joan Mitchell.

When Gabriele Sädler produces her compositions, she has the entire repertoire of 100 years of abstract art at her disposal; she can use it, discard it or distort it; she can invent her own new forms free from historical constraints and above all, she can coax forth unimagined new combinations from the colour spectrum. She does all of this and achieves a world of abstract images that follows an individual momentum. Her abstraction is not bound to agendas or debates but rather to deliberate, sometimes cautious and often playful gestures. Her compositions are developed strictly within the proscribed surface and a sense of space is engendered only by colour. If an order should emerge, this usually one of reluctant elements.

The events that one observes despite the abstract language might most readily be described as encounters. All variations of encounter – including those on a human plane – can be reconstructed: gentle touch, fierce confrontation, aberrations and confusions, states of weightlessness or passionate exchange; all of these can be recognised. Often one is reminded of the micro cosmos, sometimes of landscapes, now and then there seems to be a game taking place whose rules have been forgotten or perhaps never existed and are being tested by the artist.

The artist favours bright tones for her settings, but when she uses deep, sonorous tones they induce a feeling of density, closeness and contentment rather than one of tragedy or mourning. Where the spontaneity of play and the abstraction encounter one another in a configuration of harmonious balance, the happy momenta dominate.

That this has not been achieved light- handedly but rather after overcoming brittleness and hazard is what makes up the enjoyable tension of the imagery of Gabriele Sädler.



Siegfried Gohr (* 1947) is a German art historian, curator and freelance writer.