Walter Dahn

*1954 in St. Tönis

Ohne Titel (Der Fotograf)

Walter Dahn, Ohne Titel (Der Fotograf), 1986, acrylic on canvas, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, © Walter Dahn, photo: Carl Brunn

In the 1980s, the urge for progression and provocation in West Germany is also reflected in a new way of figurative painting. Walter Dahn, who had worked mainly with photography up to this point, moves increasingly towards painting in the mid-1980s. He considers it more suitable for expressing his thought experiments. The trend on the art market also promotes the return of painting in this era of the Neue Wilde. Dahn’s participation in the artists’ group Mülheimer Freiheit has a lasting effect on his work during these years. His paintings oscillate between wit and provocation, in contrast to the art discourse, which was dominated by Concept and Minimal Art until now. The new paintings were intended to be as impromptu as possible, and not determined by intellectual concepts. Absurd projects, tasteless and trivial subjects are very popular. Wolfgang Max Faust describes them as “free-style paintings”. The subject is not encoded, the pictures are honest and straightforward. Dahn’s painting Ohne Titel (Der Fotograf) shows a figurative representation in front of a smooth, monochrome background. It resembles a sketch made with a large brush. The scene conveys a certain absurdity: Askew, as if shot from the hip, it shows a photographer who is capturing the sunset with a cooking pot on his head.