EXTENSIONISM - Narration and Description

Bertold Mathes

March 18 - July 22, 2023

After curating the two-part exhibitions The Fiction of Property I and II in 2022 for the Kienzle Art Foundation with works from the collection, painter Bertold Mathes is now invited to present his own work.

Under the programmatic title EXTENSIONISM – Narration and Description, Mathes installs an exhibition that presents his work since 2019, but then reaches back to 1983 as a starting point. Thus, as an installation in the foyer of the exhibition space, he shows images of the early series Motif from 1983, with two paintings in between from 1987–1990 and the two-part work Narrative and Description from 1992. These alternative inserts counteract the Motif paintings both in their painting style as well as in their supposed content and point to the multifaceted work developed in the following years.

In the further course of the exhibition, the result of this approach becomes evident in mutually corresponding architectural settings with a compilation of paintings from 2019 to the present. What characterizes this new series, both conceptually and aesthetically, is the simultaneity of different, quasi-confrontational working methods and the resulting images, as well as the coexistence of different work series that evolved over long periods of time. Their shared work process oscillates in a painterly space between system and emotion, calculation and the unconscious, reflection and imagination. The painting thus reveals itself as a diagrammatic form of potentiality, open at the edges and in constant flux in the course of the work, but valid in itself.

This EXTENSION, in the sense of prolongation, permanent testing, and redefinition of the potential of painting as a fluid medium, leads to pictures that, in their interplay, reveal their open and flexible position and the fragility of meaning.


Bertold Mathes was born in Freiburg in 1957. From 1979–1985, he studied painting at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe with Prof. Peter Dreher. He lives and works in Waldkraiburg and Berlin.


Accompanying Event: June 23, 7 p.m., catalogue presentation and artist talk with Georg Imdahl