MENTZINGEN Philip

click to enlarge*1976 in Salzburg, Austria.
Lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
STATEMENT

Since I can remember my studio has been a place where paintings could be made, pondered over and critiqued. I treated it like an office where ideas, opinions and visitors would collide, tear things and remake themselves and simultaneously reduce my studio to look something like a cross examination between a wannabe Picasso and a car crash. It is only when I got to the point where I had to reject figuration and oil painting completely, that I took into consideration the effect my four little walls could have on my work. Since then my painting has more to do with transmitting a feeling rather than sending a message. The spaces in which I work and show have become the main influence and focus of my painting.

Having said this I will take the opportunity to contradict myself ever so slightly and without apology and begin by mentioning that all my paintings begin life on the floor of the studio. Employed are a plethora of nasty materials: spray paint, used canvasses and textiles, oil stick, graphite, latex, motor oil, chewing gum and a strange, thick white lacquer that shall for the moment remain unnamed. I begin with no plan and no result in my mind: priming, spraying, drawing, peeling off layers, reworking, cracking the canvas and using old shoes as paint brushes. I enjoy the fact that this evolution denies a beginning and an end. Thus, my painting has become more process and function orientated and less driven by the narrative to the extent where much of it is beyond my control which in turn leads to unexpected surprises. I like surprises. At times, there is this fight against myself, especially at the beginning, there is almost always a wrestling with the thing itself. Other days I feel like a secretary waiting for a phone call to drive an idea around in order to begin a dialogue: “Ok, move this here and glue that down”, “Stop”, “Not today buddy” or “Hang me on the wall, I want to look at myself”. I entertain this concept as an imperative to establish an unconstrained relationship between the piece and myself. The way this bond is conducted often predicts the outcome.

The space in the painting is as important as the space around it and this includes the tactile nature of the surface through which the audience can interact with the work. My goal is to impart a warm, fuzzy feeling much like stepping into a hot bathtub after a long day of overstimulation and monotonous office work. I employ quirky titles, which act as a reminder as I climb out of bed in the morning and think, “I’m not going to make it”, but then I laugh remembering all the times I felt that way.
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