Text: Marie Luise Namislow – Fabian Treiber: Staring into Space (ENG)

Staring into Space
Fabian Treiber

When exactly does a form turn into a thing, when does colour on canvas become representation? Abstraction and figuration – these are the poles between which Fabian Treiber’s new works are situated. It is common sense that the insistent search for figurative elements in overtly abstract works comes naturally. Moving his work into the direction of intended figuration and to genres such as still life and landscape only seems to be a matter of consequence then.
The latest works come along as arguments of a mindset that implies courage. What seemed liberating at first – abstraction in its truthfulness to be nothing more than what it actually is – eventually became a self-made cage, which the artist is now leaving behind. It’s the simple things surrounding us, which enter the canvas in the series »common things«; a table, a vase, a carpet, grounding the scene. Nonetheless these paintings do entail a challenge for the spectators, or as Fabian Treiber puts it: “There was always something disturbing“.1

His works are vibrating and pulsating. Something seems to be shining through underneath a light rose coloured carpet. Memories painted over, thoughts that have turned into an image perhaps, lurking under the surface they imply that this is not a carpet in its own right, but a painted one. The masterly use of the material is ever so important, paving the way for arising forms and finally a unique style. This is something Willi Baumeister was already asking for with the „priority of the artistic tools over content and form.“2 Using stencils and spray-paint with acrylics and ink Fabian Treiber expands the possibilities of seeing and dynamises the pictorial space with these techniques in addition to more classical forms of applying pigment on canvas. The sleeve of a jumper appears as a sort of textile, like a loose-knit fabric. But the effect does not derive from the realism of the piece of clothing, but from the material substance: generously applied colour and sprayed acrylics give us the illusion of a cloth.

The interplay of abstract and figurative elements in the image increases the options to sharpen the gaze and to see more attentively. This is what characterizes the visual world of Fabian Treiber. Narrative fragments not only emerge in single paintings, but also a whole series bears relations, which are motivated by the artistic process. Single forms reoccur and please the recognizing gaze. What used to be a vase once, might reappear in another context in the next painting as a pure form, which gains its meaning from compositional aspects only. Sometimes canvases are printed on one another. Positive and negative outcomes are being treated equally; both facts will be traced in the further process.
Fabian Treiber explores the space in which we are staring and invites us to make new discoveries of our own, between abstraction and figuration, between unambiguousness and mysteriousness.


1 The exhibition under the same name took place at Galerie Strzelski from March till May 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany.
2 René Hirner, Einführung in Willi Baumeisters Kunsttheorie, in: Baumeister, Willi, Das Unbekannte in der Kunst, Köln 1988: 241 (translation of quotation: Marie-Luise Namislow).