About Painting

The painter escapes every stoning, every wastage through the discourse. He only needs to set the sense-direction into space. And the morphology is a semantic.
Michel Serres about Carpaccio's St. Stephen

I started painting in 1991 with a study of the centre piece of Uccello's Battle of San Romano, copying segments from a reproduction onto 99 wooden blocks, later assembled to a fragmented painting.

The interests and methods of responding have changed, yet using an existing painting as a foil to work against (as historical reference) has remained a core useful approach; it allows me to study and interact, experiment and respond. The attempt to copy a constraint, providing focus on the mechanical rather than the expressive: automation: circumventing convention.

Painting as a social practice; as on-going process, which only intermittently produces artefacts. As recurring centre of engagement; sincere and meaningful statement; poetic experience - a process of finding positions in response to external parameters (to speak from, to observe from, to simply wait from): rhythm and intervals of interaction.

Experiments in Engagement / Art as Exchange

I received my aesthetic education at the theatre, having been drawn to it, as it appears, as an essentially immediate form of communication and aesthetic collaboration, with a focus on the here and now, physical presence, direct interaction between people.

I studied theatre, film and media as well as having had the opportunity to work with ex-members of the Viennese theatre collective TheatreAngelusNovus, the work of which revolved around utilising theatre as an utopian space; as a process of gaining understanding in collective elaboration; on perception, the body, the theatrical space and, maybe most importantly, the theatrical chorus and the heightened awareness and responsiveness it requires compared to the work of individual actors playing roles.

For many years I had (and still have) issues with the traditional forms of commuicating painting, displaying artefacts only in set-ups that have more connotation of retail than direct exchange, and was looking for ways of communicating that could combine that direct interaction of the theatre with the form of reflection and expression that I pursue with painting.

I eventually developed some concepts of combinig the exchange of what I worked on as an isolated, single painter, with attempts of openly working with others, like musicians would do, or how people play football, sharing the canvas as a space of social interaction and exchange, joint elaboration and shared responsibility (Experiments in Engagement).

In 2016 this resulted in initiating Art As Exchange (AAEX) as a collaborative platform for participatory art in Ireland's North East.

About (bgx : mag) - Personal Magazine + Show Case

(bgx : mag), started in 2007, has turned out as a public space which I can use to both tentativley expose some of my work / see how it feels, check what holds up / as well as gradually publish articles of my own and by others which have been (and still are) important to me and may otherwise not be as easily available as I would wish.

Some are published here for the very first time in English.

Many thanks to the contributors.


Bernhard Gaul | Corcreaghy, April 2016

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