Daniel Fischer — Painting in Landscape No. 15 and Painting in Landscape No. 17/11

Daniel Fischer is one of the key Slovak painters of the second half of the 20th century...

Inventory No.: O 2179
Artist: Daniel Fischer
Title: Painting in Landscape No. 15
Year: 1987
Technique: PVC, graphite, charcoal
Material: paper, fibreboard, frame
Dimensions: 200 x 140 cm
Signature: rear side on top, pencil: D. Fischer / NO. 17 / 1987

Inventory No.: O 2180
Artist: Daniel Fischer
Title: Painting in Landscape No. 15
Year: 1987
Technique: black and white photography
Material: fibreboard
Dimensions: 81 x 65 cm
Signature: rear side top centre, pencil: NO. 17 / D. Fischer / 1987

Inventory No.: O 2181
Artist: Daniel Fischer
Title: Painting in Landscape No. 17/11
Year: 1989
Technique: combined technique
Material: paper, fibreboard
Dimensions: 200 x 143.5 cm
Signature: rear side top right, pencil: D. Fischer / 1989 / NO. 17/11

Inventory No.: O 2182
Artist: Daniel Fischer
Title: Painting in Landscape No. 17/11
Year: 1989
Technique: cibachrome
Material: wood plank
Dimensions: 87.5 x 83 cm
Signature: rear side top centre, pencil: NO. 17/11 / D. Fischer / 1989 / FOTO: CIBACHROME

Daniel Fischer is one of the key Slovak painters of the second half of the 20th century. He entered the art scene in the middle of 1970s (already formed by the so-called unofficial art scene) and created he own unique author program. Even though he is a painter “by nature”, his large portfolio also contains drawings, photography, installations and computer graphics – that he picked up as one of the first artists in Slovakia. Characteristic features of Daniel Fischer’s work are analytical and conceptual approaches, contemplativeness, procedure and his search for the heart of the matter. The artist is mostly interested in painting analysing and the possibilities given by the medium itself. Fischer’s work consists of various cycles that are not closed and the artist keep coming back to them. Some of his themes of choice include landscapes, optical illusions, art quotes, technology in art as well as (written) text.

Painting in Landscape No. 15 and Painting in Landscape No. 17/11 are a part of a series of the same name that Fischer started working on in 1985. It consists of diptychs that include painting and photography. The paintings were created in an open-air environment in the middle of nature even thought the weather and lighting conditions were less than ideal (cold, snow, dark). The main purpose of the photography is to document how the painting blended with the surrounding natural scenery. Paintings of the No.15 and No.17/11 diptychs are large in scale and vertically oriented which is a rather unconventional form factor when compared to landscape painting traditions. Fischer has opted for the vertical orientation on purpose as he sees his works as cutouts of the actual landscape. Traditional painting techniques are also not a part of these pieces as the artist uses graphite, charcoal, PVC or a combination of different methods. The compositions are abstract in nature which creates a contrast to the photographic part of the diptychs that depict real life motives.

No. 15’s motive is a landscape covered in snow with housing architecture in the background that suggests the scene takes place in the countryside. The motive of snow and snow-covered nature keeps repeating itself in Fischer’s work. He also worked with this theme in other pieces of the same series, for example Between Reality and Actual Actuality (1987), Hommage à L. Soutter (1987 – 1988), Hommage à L. Soutter 2 (1989) or Painting in Landscape No. 31 (1990 – 1991). While depicting the winter landscape, the artist uses the natural whiteness of snow (a symbol of pureness) as he only applies a reduced black and white colour scheme. The composition is dominated by a white surface that stretches almost across the whole scene all the way to the overhanging tree branches. In order to enrich the simple scene, Fischer uses expressive, repetitive brush strokes which intensify the emotional effect of the piece. No. 17/11’s motive is an autumn forest landscape. The painting focuses on a detailed portrayal of a tree, while the author uses spots of bright colours in order to highlight the geometrical shapes of its branches. The characteristic features of the work include a play of lights and shadows, overlapping layers or its rather dark, earthy colour scheme.

The Painting in Landscape series lies at the intersection of land art and action painting, while developing the tradition of open air art of the 19th century and also referring to romanticism with its relation to nature. The series contains many references associated with various stages of the history of art. Nevertheless, these paintings are a testament to a precise painting strategy that offers new possibilities when it comes to the historical genre of landscape painting. Daniel Fischer perceives his own paintings as if they were overlapping with a space he is talking to in painters language. In his own words: “the process of painting and drawing on site in the middle of nature is an exciting adventure of creation, it is an authentic experience of perception / absolute fulfilment, it is a deep dive into the present – a state of concentrated consciousness here and now (…)”. [1]

Daniel Fischer was born in Bratislava on 11 April 1950. He studied at a secondary school in Bratislava (1965-1968) while also attending art classes at the Public Art School in Karlova Ves (1956-1968) where he later worked as a teacher (1974-1990). He received his painting education at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design at a studio led by prof. Peter Matejka (1968-1974). During the period of normalisation he avoided the official art scene and kept close to the A-R group (K. a M. Bočkays, L. Čarný, O. Laubert, V. Kordoš, M. Meško, I. Minárik, M. Mudroch, D. Tóth, theorist J. Geržová). After the revolution, he participated at creating the new concept of AFAD. He became an associate professor, then a professor and the leader of the + – XXI Studio where he worked until 2017. He has participated at many national and international exhibitions. One of the most important ones was his multimedia installation for the Czechoslovak Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1993).

Mária Janušová
June 2017

GERŽOVÁ, Jana – MOJŽIŠ, Juraj: Daniel Fischer. Contemporary Art Circles Profile – SLOVART- AFAD: Bratislava 2016.

[1] FISCHER, Daniel: O nadšení. In: GERŽOVÁ, Jana – MOJŽIŠ, Juraj: Daniel Fischer. Contemporary Art Circles Profile -SLOVART- AFAD: Bratislava 2016, p. 200.

This acquisition has been supported using public funds provided by Slovak Arts Council.