We had the pleasure of talking with artist Eberhard Freudenreich, whose artwork, from the series Mein Ahne war ein Müllerssohn (My Ancestor was a Miller’s Son) is featured in the campaign for the upcoming Affordable Art Fair Hamburg, 16-19 November.
Represented by galerie holzhauer hamburg (Stand C1), Eberhard discussed the elements and inspiration of his work with Isabel Deimel.
Line and shape applied to paper are the basic elements in your work. What has inspired you, over your 30-year career, to create such as large body of work from these simple elements?
After studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stuttgart, I focused on etching, after some investigation into other techniques. Line was always an important factor. I was especially interested in the reciprocal system: after creating a form, a counter-form is always created around it. Then the viewer can decide if he sees a line, a plane, or both forms.
So, I am as interested in the area (plane) and the line that both creates limits it. In both my drawings and other works, the line and plane together create a space with an interior and exterior. By layering planes, the lines of the layers overlap, creating more questions: What's going on here? What is the result on the space? Do the elements separate or interweave?
The viewer is always important to my work, they continually discover and reinterpret the artwork and I want to maintain this freedom of interpretation at all times. The work is designed to communicate with the individual and encourage the exchange of ideas with others. The line is the starting point; the goal is the viewer and their interpretation.
Is each body of work a stand-alone collection, or a step along a larger journey? When do you feel your work process is completed?
Each collection is a part of the larger journey. First, I start with a classic drawing, then move on to cut boxes and generally finish by working with glass boxes. Each body of work is self-contained, but I refer back to them when working in the next medium, developing them further. I place a lot of importance on the creative process and my thought processes before and after. Ultimately, the entire process ends with the viewer who actively takes their time and makes their own opinion. The work of art never stands alone, it only works in partnership with the viewer.
What does colour mean to you and how do you use it in your work?
My interest in colour and how I handle it comes from my graphic studies. Of course, I work quite differently with color than, for example, artists that create classical paintings. My starting point is always the graphic image, although my work can end up very painterly. I use colour to highlight areas rather than for purely aesthetic reasons. In the process, the colours often become independent from the boundaries, and in slipping over the lines create something completely new.
Your mentor, Rudolf Schoofs, belonged to the Informel movement, whose members explored formlessness and spontaneity in their art. Your work has a very clear structure and looks quite "considered". How much spontaneity is allowed in your work?
Although I approach the creative process carefully, I then let myself be guided by spontaneous possibilities that arise from the process. The work becomes self-sufficient new combinations of different forms arise.
After browsing through your catalogue, I noticed that you often leave your work untitled. Is that so that the viewer can freely make their own interpretation?
By leaving my work untitled I want to ensure the viewer can interpret the work autonomously. A title can steer a viewer and stops their own imagination. However, when I use titles, e.g. in the case of my linocuts, this always refers to the printing block, and not the image itself. The more often the printing block is used, the more it and the output changes. With every change in the hue, a completely different association arises. For this reason, every print is unique and not part of an edition. The art market is flooded by limited editions which can be quite arbitrary and I want to deliberately counteract this with my unique prints.
Eberhard Freudenreich, Zwölf Betrachtungen zu einem Ameisenhaufen, wood cut, €2000, galerie holzhauer hamburg.
Images from first to last:
Eberhard Freudenreich in his studio.
Eberhard Freudenreich, Mein Ahne war ein Müllerssohn 10, woodcut, €2000, galerie holzhauer hamburg.
Eberhard Freudenreich, Raumschichtung, paper, glass and wood, €2000, galerie holzhauer hamburg.