Dr. Lily Fürstenow

res amissa
by Salomé Mohs

Paintings are objects, paint, pigment, colour, canvas, figuration, abstraction – is that all what is painting about? Yes and  no – each picture adds to the eternal discourse. Quoting Ernst Gombrich: “All art originates in the human mind, in our reaction to the world rather than in the visible world in itself.” Painting is no exception to this. Each painting is a site verging on the non-site, where boundaries are blurred. One feels displaced, almost lost. 

In the paintings by Salome Mohs anthropomorphic forms suggest presence as ephemeral as ever. Her process based approach renders the paintings a touch of the unfinished work-in- progress character. Marks, intensive brushwork, complex internal compositional relationships in her pictures evidence the artist's attempt to explore the boundaries of painting. Identical or repeated elements e.g. geometric structures, human figures, reoccur yet the contexts change, attributing each work an aura of its own. Rich in symbols, paradox, mystery and ambiguity - her work is open for interpretation. The sombre colour palette of brown, dark grey, black and darker tones of blue are evocative of mourning, melancholy akin to the boundless cosmic darkness.

One is faced with one's own self, allowed into the darkest labyrinths of the soul and mind, yet there's hope for those who won't give up. The blurred and the unfinished states hint at a subjectivity at a cross-roads, in a liminal position deprived of all contexts, placed within mixed environments. Salomé Mohs creates speculative environments where the differencies between the organic and the geometric is revised. According to Bruce Nauman: “The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing the Mystic Truths.” Each person has to reveal something at a certain stage in life, at least one is inspired by the ability of art to remind us about the existence of these.  The oeuvre by Salomé Mohs inevitably encourages the spectator for a quest for revelation, although it's clear from the onset that the way is like to be precarious and the goal obscure.

Res Amissa a recurrent title with Salomé Mohs, a quote of Giorgio Agamben referring to his poet friend Caproni. Res Amissa (chose perdue) is about the inevitable loss, about the irreparable, yet also about the memory of the loss in spite of forgetting. Opacity, obscurity, oblivion relate to the darker side of reality, the unexplored, darker side of self  that one avoids. It indicates a certain eclipse of the heart, Res Amisa - a subtle unevoidable darkness that underlies the contemporary consumerist philosphy of positive thinking, all-round well-being, success and comfort. And this might be the subtle critique coming from the artist  as a reaction to the world that is afraid to acknowledge its profound loss of memory.