Journey to a wonderful country

Exhibition in the Brazil Embassy Berlin, March 2023

Even during his trip to Brazil, Raimund Spierling was rarely to be found without his sketchbook. His landscape painting technique, however, which always takes place on location with a large amount of material and uses conventional materials and mixed techniques, now had to be reinvented. Ultimately, it meant saving resources, because the previously usual set of acrylic and watercolour paints, a wide variety of crayons, flat and textured papers, as well as found objects to be collaged in, could not be transported. That means reduction. A small paper sketchbook, a few pens, a smartphone camera and a mini iPad had to suffice to make hand and photo sketches on site. These were digitally assembled, painted over and overdrawn during the trip. 

More than 60 landscape works

The result: painted collage-like works in high resolution in several layers. The sketches in the book from page 68 demonstrate the digital collage technique. Here, mostly only one photo layer was combined with one drawing layer. The landscape works are much more complex and are composed of a multitude of layers in different transparencies. The output for a Düsseldorf studio exhibition was on 5 mm acrylic glass in the formats 81 x 33 and 122 x 51 cm. The works were hung without frames. This presentation is also planned for the exhibition at the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin in 2023.

Landscape plus. Very few of the works, such as the waterfalls of the Iguaçu and around Bonito, show pure Brazilian natural landscapes or wilderness. Even in the „Mato Grosso“, at waterfalls or in the river courses of the Amazon region, human activity cannot be overlooked and becomes part of the picture. Spierling always inserts a creative counterpoint and brings the landscape impression into a new context. The seemingly impenetrable rainforest is complemented by a bright red fire hydrant, the street vendor finds himself in Amazon water, the pool presentation on the arterial road pushes its way into the jungle. Another approach is the addition of two graphically rigorous elements. It becomes clear in the works „Anaconda 1“, „Amazonas 5, 12 and 14“. Almost all the works from the Rio series, dramatically intertwine city and nature and create a rather threatening mood. Common to all the works, and due to the light and the bright Brazilian colours, is the expressive brushwork and strokes with strong colour contrasts – Spierling remains true to himself even in the digital painting technique. During the four-week trip, more than 60 landscape works and numerous sketches were created. Further trips to this fascinating country are planned and a presentation in Brazil would be very desirable.

Raimund Spierling lives and works as a painter and designer in Berlin, his most important stations being Dortmund, Krefeld, New York City, Düsseldorf, Berlin. His favourite landscape themes are deserts, mountains, canyons, volcanos, waterfalls and other extreme landscape sitations. Overall in his work, he combines graphics, design and painting – two dimensional and space – convention and experiment.

See also: Spierling exhibition list:

Raimund Spierling