Fotosynthetic Painting and Pop Art
The painters have always represented what was important and beautiful at their time. The Baroque painter immortalized ripe fruit, full glasses of wine and venison in his still-life, because that was a part of contemporary taste. Andy Warhol imaged soup-cans and cereal-boxes to reflect the lifestyle of his time.
The court painter portrayed his king or illustrated the life of Jesus, because they were the most important people of the world at that time. Andy Warhol printed portraits of movie and music stars, that the modern people take for their ideal.
Since then, the world has become smaller. Previously, people saw their sphere limited by the confines of their village, their city and their country surrounded by a huge unknown and strange world of which they did not know much.
Today we have an instant access to information from all over the world, traveling does not take too long - we can quickly become acquainted with the wide foreign world. Modern man is familiar with several cultures, religions, languages and adopts parts of them for his conception of the world.
We are now used to be almost constantly confronted with information from everywhere mostly in the form of images, we see many things at once, we must quickly recognize, assign and assimilate them.
In the"Glass House" (120x180cm oil on canvas 2010) we see painted motifs and faces as representatives of politics and religion, media and traditions. Associations of power and glory are mixed with banal, everyday subjects.
The media show us, how life is supposed to be, animate us directly through advertising or indirectly through movies or press to consumption. Everything you see is intended for rapid consumption, the society is reflected in the consumption and advertising.
Michael Münch chooses for his paintings well-known faces, plainly scenes or trivial motifs, right those which occur in the magazines or advertising, because they aptly and emphatic symbolize the attitude towards life in Western societies.
The motifs in "Mother-Day" (120x130cm oil on canvas 2009) recall the "ideal world", suggested through advertising and magazines, but the screaming woman is probably overstrained with all the requirements of such a life - it takes too much power to be the model-wife.
Even Andy Warhol used for his art the knowledge, that the photography and film play a prominent role in the consciousness of modern people for their perception of reality.
Michael Münch also uses cinematic techniques by the shaping of his paintings - long shot, close-up, image cut and almost photo-realistic painted motifs create a reality for themselves which the viewer can not escape. (Fig. "Sex Therapy" 140x120cm oil on canvas 2010).
Just as Pop Art, the Fotosynthetic Painting makes use of the media and will stop at no triviality to embody the collective time-mind.
The accumulation of different symbols on one screen breaks the usual chain of associations, makes the viewer consider, creates the effect of alienation. All seems not to be what it should be, the products and ideologies, that are hidden behind the symbols are challenged, tested for their reality.
About Fotosynthetic Painting
The term "art" includes ability and manifestation, and an artist chooses a technique that allows him to proclaim his imagination, and to submit his thoughts and views to the others.
While studying at the FH Köln Michael Münch developed his own style of painting, a poetic version of Surrealism, which he calls Fotosynthetic Painting.
At the time of Dada developed, collage technique suits best the artistic intent of Michael Münch. The painter believes in the "Pirate-Genius", which, citing F.Nietzsche “... arises when someone unscrupulously and from youth upwards regards all good things ... as his legitimate spoil. Now all the good things of past ages and masters lie free around us, hedged about and protected by the reverential awe of the few who know them. To these few our robber-genius... bids defiance and accumulates for himself a wealth that once more calls forth homage and awe.” (fig. "Temporary Contract"54x72cm oil on canvas 2004)
Because Michael Münch uses for his collages motifs from all sorts of sources - books, magazines, newspapers, posters, own photos, etc. - sources that every day provide us new pictures and impressions - without context, fast alternating, new, interesting and immediately forgotten again. Furthermore, the artist says himself: " The template material, which is necessary for the Fotosynthetic Painting, forms the conditions for the picture ideas (collages), resulting from spontaneous inspiration. The collages are the resources to manifest in the Photosynthetic Painting through images some informations about my personal subconscious and common subconscious, for the purpose of determination of personal or universal truth."
The method of psychical automatism, already used by surrealists, evokes the subconscious, helps the artist to reflect the own life and to define himself. Thereby a new image content can be won or known topics can be presented in other, contemporary way.
At this point we refer at the similarity of the concept of photosynthesis in the plant with the Fotosynthetic Painting. During photosynthesis of the plants it is the building of chemical elements under the influence of light, which leads to the growth of the plant. In the Fotosynthetic Painting the existing picture motifs of all types is comparable to the chemical components present in the plant. The quick-witted action of spontaneous inspiration (manipulation of the image-material) by which new image-content (collage) is created, is similar to sunlight that causes the linking process.
In the fotosynthetic process created collages are no end in themselves and are seen from the beginning as needing cultivation. For the painter collages themselves are not enough as a work of art because they often don't match the aesthetic requirements of a painting (composition laws, proportions, colors ...). So the collages can be improved in this regard by drawing and in the following act of painting. Michael Münch works in oil on canvas in realistic manner, so that the displayed objects are really recognizable as such in the given context and the viewer is confronted with this new reality.
Michael Münch also tries in his works to capture "the puzzle that life gives us" that already fascinated Giorgio de Chirico. The poetry living in the simple things and situations, held by the images, is brought near the viewer, we should stop for a moment and think - about ourselves and others, about life. Just as de Chirico Michael Münch regards all, even humans, as things. Such alienation refers to the reality of the object in context. Rene Magritte also aspired in his system of thought the liberating disclosure - liberation from mental habits that are imposed upon us by the outside world.
Michael Münch esteemes Giorgio de Chirico and Rene Magritte as his spiritual fathers, citing another aphorism of F.Nietzsche "Three thinkers like one spider": "... the first produces from himself sap and seed, the second draws it out in threads and spins a cunning web, the third waits in this web … and tries to live upon this philosophy."
Just as de Chirico and Magritte Michael Münch represents mostly "familiar objects" - in his picture vocabulary are faces, planets, palms, roses ... - All ordinary and well-known things - they merely come together in new relationships, it creates an open structure - open for mystery and poetry (Fig."Island Consciousness" 65x74cm oil on canvas 2004).
Fotosynthetic Painting tries to dissolve the boundaries between representationa land abstract painting, the artist deals with the for the tableau selected subjects as abstract elements. In the linear image frame, image sections representing specific things, are used according to laws of abstract image construction, instead of geometric figures or coloured areas (as in H.Arp "Horizontal-Vertical Composition"). The single elements are held together by color harmony, but often you can not determine which of the motifs is the main point of the painting, that allows the associations the greatest freedom. (Fig. "Scandal Menu"120x160 oil on canvas 2009)
In his paintings Michael Münch often leaves from the classical central perspective - in the middle of his paintings often is "nothing." This lets the view roam free over the canvas and the circle eventually closes and the story, told by the picture, appears out of "nothing".
So it is with "Dimensions Strike" (100x120cm oil on canvas 2008). At the left a little girl is standing gazing up at the sky - into nowhere. In the background is a huge fire, which the small, at the very edge of the picture standing around people no longer have under control. And from the right a reminicsent to Greek goddess figure is looking down at the spectacle. Is this the last oil that burns here and with it our civilization? Is this the empty cold earth, which the people have destroyed, floating up there? The girl is looking for help, she herself can not do anything - her hands are lacking. But the goddess does not help - she does not seem to care for the people, she is indeed quite struck herself. The figure is incomplete and you can look through it to a wide empty space with a lighted horizon - into nowhere again. And above in the "sky" of the image behind the "sky" with the fire - a winged fish in stone - a symbol of dreams and castles of clouds on sand, the collapse of the whole that - may be not yet?
Michael Münch believes that a painting is not just for its own piece of art, but also an object of decoration for a room. Hence his aspiration for aesthetics both in the choice of motifs, as well as in coloring, for which many pure and bright tints are characteristical. For only if the aesthetic sensibility of the viewer is awakened, he can think about a painting and be fascinatedby it, even when he first comes to his own thoughts through the beautiful colors and just then through the represented objects.
On the other hand Michael Münch does not try to cover up the origin of his pictures from a collage. Contrary, he intentional leaves visible in his paintings the cut edges and extraneous backgrounds, which illustrates the rapid and sudden change of pictures and situations in the life. The man of today should behave completely different in different situations and in different places - at home, at work, on the road you should play the roles given by society, which are often contradictory. They are as single images on a canvas side by side, which all are visible at once - and must be brought together.
The division of the picture in demarcated single images we often encounter by the altars. But an altar recounts merely a certain predetermined tell in its successive scenes, one should here recall a familiar story. However a Fotosynthetic Painting produces a new, never captured, personal story of the artist and at the same time a story of each viewer. In Fotosynthetic Painting different genres appear side by side, making the associations run free.
The choice of motifs and their composition to collage and an oil painting are often determined by private experiences and personal feelings of the artist, but the images can also cause similar or even identical associations by the other people. The observer compares what is represented with its own way of thinking, he reviews - that was subjective becomes universal. Art is close to the people, though the artist's self-reflection.
So in "Modular" (120x160cm oil on canvas 2009). Here we see a person from different perspectives - a child and an adult, alone, in a small circle and in the society. Every single image is delimited by a frame, but the coloration connects the motifs, just as the inner life of the human determines him in all situations. The human being is confronted wit hmany things in the life and influenced by them - natural and man-made things, art and religion, the media and society - they all surround the small child (the portrait of the artist) that is open and receptive to everything - and who once later will make his own picture – so as Michael Münch this one. One can think much by looking at this picture - about the beauty of nature - the untouched landscape abductes in a dream world, where free birds live. But also beauty of art or beauty of unity with the people who share a common idea. Sorrow and death are also a part of life - here represented by Entombment of Christ - but death is not the end - the idea that one has dedicated his life to lives on.
We read in the Brockhaus Encyclopedia: "... the art is significant for the understanding and interpretation of an age, for its creative will unabated finds expression in it and the intellectual transformations are often the earliest announced by the arts."
Michael Münch sees the present time as a media age, where people are manipulated by advertising to high-spending consumers, who want to continue their way of life at the cost of nature and regardless of the consequences. This culture operates with words and pictures, so Michael Münch uses its own funds, to let the media culture see itself in a mirror. The flood of images which flows to modern man from the screens, billboards, magazine pages is so strong that you can impossible assimilate all the information contained in them and are unconsciously manipulated. Michael Münch takes the same images, but he links them in another way to a fixed unit, a static picture, about what the viewer can make his thoughts in peace of mind and make up a story. This makes conscious one's world around him, one begins to reflect on it and to question. Often is the subconscious, which moves a person, brought into the light, objectified. (Fig. "Scene Change" 74x80cm, oil on canvas 2006)
The motifs, which are assembled in "Law gap" (135x105cm oil oncanvas 2009) remind us of the switching of TV channels - subjects, landscapes, animals, persons change without context. Michael Münch often chooses especially marked, even taken individually striking, even intrusive looking motifs to make his intent more clearly. So the wide-open frightened eyes are staring to the viewer out of the image - it is a nightmare? But there is a peacefully slumbering couple on the beach of a bay - is everything fine? The interaction of humans and animals raises further questions. The giraffe is big by nature - the man is also grand and important in front of his big city – is he that really? The aggressiveness of the dinosaur is natural - a woman as a dominatrix with chains and leather outfit will also look so - why? Is the little monkey, glancing so curious, the viewer himself or a symbol of satirical laughter about human life? The title "Law gap" underlines the problem - the laws of nature are present, human laws are made and imperfect - and the gap - it is between humans and nature - perhaps the man has created it himself, he can also close it again if he would live with nature. The animals are in the picture, as well as in nature, not subordinated to the human - they are just as important and significant.