A few years ago one of the main qualities of my paintings was the experience of each one of them as a whole, as one unit, self-contained. Since then there has been a slow shift towards giving more importance to the details and the parts. This has created a greater tension (and fragility) between the surface elements and the painting as an object. I like this, especially when the painting seems to be on the brink of disintegration and an obvious energy becomes manifest. And though I have certain reservations about the artist in question, I came across a similar idea (and more articulately expressed) in a recent catalogue text for Tomma Abts’ exhibition at the New Museum in New York by Jan Verwoert: “The work is therefore visibly not about the tasteful balancing-out of pictorial relations. It is about staging the structural conflict between the dynamics of aggregation and disaggregation by calling the legitimation of unitary forms into question, by putting it at stake” – the complete text is titled: The beauty and politics of latency: on the works of Tomma Abts.

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