Muzej – Museo Lapidarium, Novigrad-Cittanova
from 15 September to 8 October, 2023
Another Sunny Day, 2022, Pigments, Acrylic on Linen, 120×100 cm
When asked about his painting process, Ivo Ringe speaks of the interaction of color, the interaction of proportions, “and then” he says, “I surprise myself.” I Came From the North With the Sun in My Eyes is the title of a painting Ringe made in 2022 — a striking composition in compressed, layered planes of red, green, blue, and brown — but it could also serve as the epigraph for this roisterous, explosively colorful new body of work.
In the teeth of the worldwide pandemic, Ringe traveled along what he called his “happy trails” from his home in Cologne, Germany, to three realms of southern light: Coaraze, France, a village near Nice; Novigrad, a town in western Croatia; and Mouthier-Haute-Pierre, France, a small village near the Swiss border. Immersed in their chromatic radiance, Ringe surprised himself and, in turn, his viewers, with unrelentingly bold, effervescent experiments in color and form.
Another painting from 2022, Les Hautes Pierre de Mouthier, a play on the village’s name (“The High Stones of Mouthier”), is the single new work that retains the binary coloristic arrangement Ringe has been investigating for the past several years — a reticulation of brushstrokes against a monochromatic field. In this case, the web of strokes is white on an ecru ground, hues reflecting the valley’s cliffs as well as the natural stone construction of Le Manoir de Mouthier-Haute-Pierre, the art residency that hosted him. (The title is also a nod to the French 19th-century Realist, Gustave Courbet, who painted many sights in the area as well as his own Rocks at Mouthier (ca.1855), now at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC).
But the other works presented here expand, compound, and shatter that model with blazing color and clashing forms. Ringe’s three primary elements — the network, the crystal, and the quadrilateral, all anchored by points of contact within the golden section (1:1.618) — are recombined and repurposed with intuitive abandon, pulsing with eye-peeling pigmentation. Vivid strokes of orange against green, green against red, yellow against blue achieve a harmonic intensity previously unseen in the artist’s work.
Beginning with Daydream II from 2019, there is a looseness of approach, an invitation to play, in which the formal boundaries that had previously held Ringe’s paintings in precarious balance eventually break apart and come undone — only to regroup and re-form with renewed vitality. In the first of the three paintings in the series, Le Solaire de Coaraze (all 2021), one of Ringe’s closed “crystal” forms (based, like his networks, on molecular growth patterns) shoulders itself like an uninvited guest into the picture plane.
Composed of bright yellow brushstrokes, it rises up from the lower left into a field of pale blue, disrupting the centered position Ringe had established for the crystal years earlier. In the second work in the series, the crystal seems to float off to the right side of the canvas before — in the final painting — it bursts across the surface as an all-encompassing reticulation.
The shock of this move, given how deeply Ringe’s body of work is rooted in geometry, physics, and philosophy, feels more like an inter-dimensional fissure than a mere formal jolt, allowing further, seemingly heretical variations to issue forth, as in Le Cadrans Solaire de Coaraze (2021), with its four crystals — blue, pink, orange, and black — wedging their facets inward from the four corners of the canvas.
The artist may have maintained his paradigms, but the past is ineluctably transformed by the unfolding shape of the future. With these endlessly inventive, deliriously colored works, Ringe has
La Gardiola II, 2021, Pigments, Acrylic on Linen, 60×60 cm
Les Hautes Pierre de Mouthier, 2022, Pigments, Acrylic on Linen, 50×40 cm
Ivo Ringe’s artist research advances contemporary concrete-minimalist art. His work transcends the perception and non-objective representation of the present. Reduced and pure, the emotive qualities of his work enliven the tradition of rationality and rigour. Born 1951 in Bonn, trained at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Ringe lives and works mainly in Cologne, Germany.
Le Cadrans Solaire de Coaraze, 2021, Pigments, Acrylic on Linen, 60×60 cm
Coaraze Sun, 2021, Pigments, Acrylic on Linen, 30×24 cm
All photographic works by
Eberhard Weible, ©Ivo Ringe
The cataloque and the exhibition have been made possible through the support of the Ministry of Culture and media of the Republic of Croatia, the Region of Istria – Administrative Department for Culture and Local Heritage Education, and the Town Novigrad-Cittanova.