Stefan Ettlinger

Playroom, 1989

About the object

Stefan Ettlinger finds the templates for his paintings in the world of information media. He engages with the criticism of this world - in particular Luhmann's thesis that the mass media doesn't depict reality, but generates it instead. Following the principle of zapping, Ettlinger repeatedly juxtaposes images in the manner of a collage, the context and meaning of which must be imagined by the viewer.
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The art of the 1980s articulates its skepticism towards what we call reality through the use of stylistic media, such as the surrogate, the mock up, the quotation and appropriation. Reality is defined as a media construction and, according to the sociologist Niklas Luhmann, is a second order observation: it is not depicted by the mass media, but rather created by it. Stefan Ettlinger engages with this critique of information media and finds the templates for his paintings there. He is not merely interested in glossy magazines, postcards and ordinary photographs, but also in the flood of TV and film images. Rather like channel hopping, Ettlinger inserts random edits into the narrative continuum and, in his seemingly provisional, transparent painting style, formulates a reserved attitude towards the definitive power of technologically generated images. (Translation: Timothy Connell)

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