Evi Vingerling

by | Dec 20, 2018

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Albert Einstein

In Evi Vingerling’s painting there is a pure “aesthetic enjoyment which is objectified enjoyment of ourselves. Enjoying aesthetically means enjoying ourselves in a sensory object different from us, identifying with it”. With these words, written by the German art historian Wilhem Worringer in Abstraction and Empathy (1908), it is possible to introduce the creative process of the Dutch artist who finds his own interest and satisfaction in the beauty of the world. Vingerling’s attention is often taken by the banality of everyday life, by everything that notoriously surrounds us, but which, due to particular empathic circumstances, finds interest in her, provoking positive and comfortable emotions. These epiphany experiences take place in the mind of the artist who grasps that moment and memorises it either photographically or through rapid sketches that will only be re-elaborated later. This type of apperceptive activity is transposed by the artist to give life to a sense of freedom and pleasure, of “free self-activation”, and this case is called “positive empathy” (Theodore Lipps, “Erkenntnisquellen. Einfühlung” in Leifaden der Psycologie, 1909).

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Untitled, 2017. Acrylic and gouache on canvas, 120 x 150 cm.

From this empathic process with the objects and the nature of the world around her, the artist starts an abstract process that sees her engaged in her studio where she recreates the moment of inspiration translated according to her own aesthetic-pictorial syntax. The impulse to abstraction derives from the desire to isolate the single object, abstracting it, to trace its primary form. In this way, Vingerling finds a place of peace, a refuge from the chaotic world. Therefore, natural environments become spaces of the imagination where one can observe and contemplate the details and fragments of the world whose authentic beauty is usually not grasped. The bulimia of images to which modern society is subjected leads man to a chronic inattention towards them, as Susan Sontag writes about the dominant tendency in the art of capitalist countries, “to eliminate, or at least to mitigate, the sensory and moral disgust. Much of modern art strives to lower the threshold of the terrible” (S. Sontag, On photography, 1978). Prolonged exposure to photographs leads to a de-realization of the world experience that diminishes our ability to interact with it. Sontag continues: “the greatest consequence of photography is that it gives us the feeling of being able to have the whole world in our head, as an anthology of images. Collecting photographs is collecting the world”. In some ways this justifies the artistic process of photographic acquisition of pieces of the world as miniatures of a reality that Vingerling learns and collects as if they were moments of life to be grasped and held to herself. The photographic image is therefore a direct emanation of the real, a trace of a human experience that, in the specific case, is that of the artist, who recalls a life experience, an emotion on the canvas that is made up of continuously expanding details. These pictorial elements that dot the painting are like autonomous universes in continuous expansion, perceived in the traces left by the artist’s creative hand and the spontaneous progress born from her mind in a stream of consciousness that intuitively reproduces that instant of life caught in a photographic detail or in a sketch.

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Untitled, 2016. Acrylic and gouache on canvas 200 x 150 cm.

The gaze of the observer is disoriented by not recognizing any naturalistic reference, since the artist hides through colour, completely detached from the subject, the real. Even the negation of a title is the affirmation of a desire to synthesize the image and convey all the attention of the observer on sensations, on purely aesthetic and empathy. The empathic connection that the artist creates between her work and the external world, the spatiality that stands between these two elements, is filled with emotions in the approach to the organic form, not to reproduce the plausible image on the canvas and in the observer’s mind but rather to try to bring back the happiness deriving from the beauty of the same thing caught in that moment in which the artist has perceived it. At that moment, held back and reproduced on the canvas, Vingerling then gives rise to a sensorial perception typical of the cognitive act of seeing, since the view was strictly linked to the idea. Seeing, in Latin v-id-ere, it retains the Greek root of the word idea -id, this testifies how Evi Vingerling is able, through the vision, to obtain a mental representation, a cognitive capacity inherent in her and, consequently in her works, able to give life to pictorial fantasies realized with episteme, that is through a reasoning and an artistic intuition that expresses itself pictorially with whimsical and smooth colours.

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Untitled, 2016. Acrylic and gouache on canvas 200 x 160 cm.

Naturalism, therefore, consists not only in a correct adaptation of the image with the object represented but in enjoying the organic form in itself, whose psychic assumption is enclosed in empathy. Thus Evi Vingerling introduces us into her apperceptive world made up of observations of the real of which she maintains the capacity for analysis establishing with it an aesthetic and synchronic relationship that returns to the public through her abstract paintings.

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