Pieter Laurens Mol, Index (Bold Version), 1981/2017, red lead paint on black-and-white inkjet photo print, mounted in passe-partout, framed size 92,6 x 119,2 cm, image size 55,8 x 84,3 cm, Courtesy Parrotta Contemporary Art
Pieter Laurens Mol, Index (Bold Version), 1981/2017, red lead paint on black-and-white inkjet photo print, mounted in passe-partout, framed size 92,6 x 119,2 cm, image size 55,8 x 84,3 cm, Courtesy Parrotta Contemporary Art 

Pieter Laurens Mol - Red Lead Index

02/02/2018 - 06/04/2018

PARROTTA 
BRÜSSELER STRASSE 21 
 
50674 Cologne

www.parrotta.de   

 
The exhibition focuses on the artist’s exploration of the historic pigment red lead (minium, Pb3O4). In drawings, painted over photographs and installations, spanning a creative period of over 40 years, he examines the poetic dimension of this specific colour, which goes back to the early era of painting as shown in the miniatures of medieval illuminated manuscripts.

With this particular group of pieces, he somehow re-formulates fundamental artistic questions, which - in the eponymous work “Index” - also address the interaction between photography and painting.

The radiance of this first artificially produced pigment, which is clearly complementary to the blue of the sky and was somehow always attributed to the melancholic temperament, came with chemical pitfalls such as a strong toxicity and vulnerability to colour change or oxidation. Indeed, often also referred to as Saturn red, minium was last used in landscape painting during the Romantic period in order to depict sunsets with an authentic glow. The use of minium subsequently subsided almost entirely, not least due to its practical shortcomings.

As in “Index”, one of the artist’s works of photographic self-staging, which primarily date from the 1970s and 1980s, often depict moments of defying the forces of gravity or a loss of balance. If his art is an attempt to locate an “extreme existence”, to use Pieter Laurens Mol’s own words, then red lead is the proper paint and colour for this artistic search.

Index, a technical term from semiotics, refers to a sign that specifically maintains a physical relationship to the things it represents or shows - akin to a trace. Through Pieter Laurens Mol’s superimposition of photography and its supplementary indexical relationship to reality by applying an abstract painterly trace of pure minium, the reality of the image created starts to compete with the reality that has been visually reproduced, thus becoming an ambiguous story or visual enigma.

Pieter Laurens Mol is represented in numerous private and public collections such as Kunstmuseum Bern, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Sprengel Museum Hannover, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Musée d’Art Contemporain Montreal, Pinakothek der Moderne München, IVAM Centre del Carme Valencia, Moderna Museet Stockholm, MoMA New York, a.o.