A retrospective such as that presented by Waltraud Maczassek, drawing on the development of her work over recent years, calls for her artistic career to be read and interpreted within the context of modern-day contemporary art.

W. Maczassek has firmly established herself as a contemporary artist through her potent combination of expressive force and visual language. At the same time, she has favoured an individual and personal aesthetic rooted in late 20th century aesthetic ideas and their expression.

The initial impact of W. Maczassek's paintings comes from tracing the path that she has taken. The desire to overcome what she has learnt and understood has led her to embark upon a profound investigation into different forms of artistic language and content. It is an investigation within herself, but also one from the perception of the universe, of her own world and of the paths that these bring. W. Maczassek's creative vocation has consolidated in recent years, yet the decision to cross this path was taken long ago, both in terms of her theoretical knowledge and artistic interrogation. Her career has been a solitary one, led from within herself, from where she has purposely and fearlessly tackled the path of contemporary art from her individual and personal perceptions, both of reality and of its depiction.

It is by reflecting and working on these perceptions that Waltraud Maczassek constructs her creative world. At the same time, she initiates a process of reflection on painting and artistic creativity that not only complements the material work process but actually feeds back into her work. Theoretical reflection and artistic practice converge in W. Maczassek's work over the last five or six years, with each aspect enriching and strengthening the other. This is a defining element in the construction of the artist's creative intellectual personality – a construction to which, with discipline and conviction, she has consciously dedicated her efforts.

The visual results in the pieces comprising this retrospective show a consolidated body of work with great communicative power, not only in what is stated and displayed openly, but also in what is suggested.

The simplicity, the visual control and the apparent simplification of forms and of the chromatic range with which they have been worked accentuate the communicative power of each painting and each element. The use of a multi-layered artistic language, characterised by mixed techniques applied in a detailed and selective manner, maximises the expressivity of the work, which imbues even the material structure of the canvas. The tonal quality of form is not purely the result of using a chromatic range, but, above all, arises from the wish to intensify the impact of each and every one of the elements comprising the form. A sort of extreme purification, of stripping back, is presented as the only path back to discovery.

Upon contemplating her work, you fully grasp the conceptual force that it communicates. Concepts dominate both form and technique. While the names of Georgia O'Keefe, Albert Ràfols Casamada and Wassily Kandinsky may be reference points for Waltraud Maczassek, there is no doubt that the elements of lyrical abstraction that influence her paintings are enriched by her own artistic investigation. This uniqueness propels the artist's work beyond what could be a new version of minimalism. She has opted for the strictly contemporary, keen to assume all the risks inherent to solitary investigation.

The artist contemplates art and creativity as a form of expression that is inseparable from the journey of life and the intellectual journey, and as one which is in dialogue with nature and the environment, but also with its own questions. She has chosen to create work characterised by the existence of dualities: birth/death, reason/impulse, science/intuition, earthly investigation/reflections on the universe, the evolution of nature/of time, understanding of the outside world/the artist's introspection. All of these presences are purely a balance of tensions, with the strength of intelligence being used for the most rigid of formal constructions.

One of her most impressive visual depictions is the series dedicated to cartography, i.e. to what has been defined as the art of tracing the representation of space. Once she has fixed the physical description, Waltraud evokes the image of time and nature which force themselves on the original creative act of cartography, an act that seeks to bring mental order and names to space. The result is a set of works that ultimately pose questions about the position of beings in the immediate or distant environment and the wish to appropriate this environment and make it one's own. Interpreting the cartographic series allows us to take an almost metaphysical view of the visual development of W. Maczassek, now receptive and in the process of developmental investigation.

This is the current state in which Waltraud Maczassek shows us her work. In poetic terms – of which she is fully deserving – her work is not a representation of the lyrical aspect of the experience, rather it is of the knowledge of the experience.


Vinyet Planella
Writer - Terramar, Summer 2000