An artistic oeuvre is like an organism. It is constantly in a state of transformation and differentiation. This is especially true of Michael Goller’s current creations. The first time I saw his work four years ago it was characterized by self-dubbed “complex images” reminiscent of palimpsest. Building on a concrete pictorial concept, he secured an image to the centre of the prepared canvas and created his paintings by “stencilling” some areas and filling others with layers of paint in pronounced gestural strokes. Light hues in nuances of soft blue, grey, pink and greens defined the impression of his fully covered canvases.
Now four years later, not only has the appearance of Goller’s pieces changed radically, but also the way in which they are created. Following a momentous yet fundamental process of grappling with both his surroundings and himself, the artist arrived at a new method which demanded that his oeuvre follow a new course. Michael Goller no longer requires external impulses or pictorial concepts as catalysts in order to step into his creative power. After years of developing his own imagery, he can now create from the realm of his own imagination. In order to advance to these inner sources - into the depths, as it were - stillness, complete isolation from the external world and extreme focus are key. “I meditate with colours” was how Alexej von Jawlensky described it. However, Michael Goller has no immediate need for paint. For now his main medium is paper, sometimes with wall-sized formats, which he fills with a graphic network of pencil, ink or silver point in a state of deepest concentration. Equally figurative (Goller calls these banners “pictures”) and abstract (“text”), they invite connotations of organic forms or scripture.
Similar to the surrealist technique of ecriture automatique, he covers his scrolls and banners - up to 250 centimetres in length or height respectively - with a web spun from the depths of his soul out onto the surface of his consciousness. These techniques and artistic results awaken recollections of the creations of Gerhard Altenbourg and Carlfriedrich Claus. Goller, however, goes a step further and surpasses them. He does not remain in the simply graphic. The colours take over - now in rich dark tones. With their own distinct method, small canvases emerge that provide the gesturally vivid counterpoint to the larger paper pieces - reflecting them, reverberating and touching on similar themes in another medium. Goller describes his canvases as the context of his pieces on paper. The dynamic first takes effect when all the pieces are viewed together in an exhibition arranged by the artist himself. In this constellation, the individual pieces enter into a natural conversation with each other. Here, the revelations made to the viewers remain as mysterious as the origin of the artwork itself.
Novalis’s Fragments state that “Everything we experience is a communication. Thus the world is indeed a communication - a revelation of the spirit. The age has passed when the spirit of God could be understood. The meaning of the world is lost. We have stopped at the letter. As a result of the appearance we have lost that which is appearing.” More than anything, it is this increasing incomprehensibility of the present era - the fundamental experience of the modern age - that Michael Goller is endeavouring to confront through his artistic process.