Patricia Susana Schnurr discusses Breuer’s typographic work.
As wall paintings as well as on canvas the word paintings/ text based paintings by Lars Breuer present themselves as an ornamental and geometrical pattern which is formed by a sharp color contrast occupying/ taking up/ filling the entire surface of the picture.
With the grid-like construction of the writing created by the artist, the single words integrate to form a rhythmic and dynamic composition. The catchword-like concepts that Breuer uses are often quotes derived from historical and intellectual currents of Occident culture.
Words, depending on their context vary their meaning and form new relationships with each other, as soon as more than one word is used in an image. Used in contrast, the terms Revolution / Restoration (Kant Galleri, Copenhagen, 2012) describe processes of change and stagnation in a society. Whether these concepts should be understood as a concluded or forthcoming action, or, perhaps, as in the text, simultaneously and paradoxically occurring remains an open question. In his use of words, Breuer initially fades the narrative aspect out. Their arrangement is left free. The unit of meaning is not immediately clear in the compilation of Opportunism, Conformism, Neoclassicism and Eclecticism (The Suburban, Oak Park, Illinois, 2009). With the use of these terms, Breuer discusses the citation itself. They refer to movements that refer to themselves, as well as preceding eras and attitudes in art.
Painted on the exterior facades of the entrance area of the exhibition space, they glow, clearly visible, from the road, like a neon sign. The words are placed centrally, so that they appear like emblems or logos.
According to the given space situation the architecture is picture-constituting as a composition component. In The Suburban, Breuer pulls the words over the entire outer walls, so that words and architecture form a unit. In Charactère an additional geometrical composition from the four corners of the space are formed, by connecting two corners, each with one point of the opposite side via a line. As such, the composition takes on the dimensions of the wall and connects the word with the architecture.
Even if the typography looks impersonal, it has been specially designed by Breuer, to bring in again the ‘artistic style’, or a personal perspective. While the typography helps itself with a contemporary use of forms, the contents are often retrospective and borrowed from history. In Le Style Figuré (chromium plated brass, 139 x 95 cm, 2009) Breuer refers to Emile Zola, who demanded artists to realistically reflect life around them, both positive and negative. However, with Breuer it is exactly Zola’s demand that makes, from a framed shining surface, a caricature of the reality and throws the look of the viewer into the distorted space.
References to utopian ideas from the works of Thomas Pynchon, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and Ernst Jünger are shown in the works Punkutron, Gazourmah and Luminar. They are the names of man-machines or instruments that show the gap between mind and matter, as it prevails in the modern world. In their ingenious creation they imply by their lack of feasibility, the tragic moment of failure.
The hard-edged typography is usually placed in a clear black-and-white contrast. The cursive set characters ordinarily serve in the running text to emphasize words or passages. In Breuers work it also serves as a dynamising design element, that consciously adds rhythm to the space. Coloured accents or embellishments that could interpret the contents of the word or citation are omitted. Instead, he sets the mural paintings through a monumental visual language and also in the canvases with their visual elements constituting monuments for grand ideas.
Breuer escapes the risk of the words and citations becoming a mere memory formula,packed in the garment of an aesthetic formalism by making the full use of typography, embedded in a pictorial language of the Avantgarde, and of the early 20th Century, with elements of Futurism and Constructivism, together with a minimalist, calculated and geometrical system.
Together they reinforce the emblematic claim of the cited. The word becomes an image, a puzzle picture, aloof and impassioned. And at the same time the word has a contemplative effect despite its striking appearance.
Patricia Susana Schnurr