Daniel Lergon at Andersen's Contemporary

Daniel Lergon

Germany 1978

Abstract Art, Painting


Daniel Lergon
Daniel Lergon
May 23, 2015
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Daniel Lergon is a German artist who experiments with light effects and chemical reactions.

Retro Reflective

Lergon was born in Bonn, Germany. Ever since the beginning of his studies at the Universität der Künste (UdK) in Berlin (with Professor Lothar Baumgarten), he began his inquiries into color, the interaction of light on different surfaces and optical effects. Lergon has been working with fabrics of different optical and physical qualities, to which he applies lacquers and transparent varnishes to produce a broad range of effects that vary with the position of the viewer.
In his early works, Lergon used color pigments within the range of the color spectrum, applying them to all kinds of material surfaces. In later work, while using transparent varnishes and synthetic, retro reflective fabric as painting surface (which reflects the light in the same direction from which it comes), he also includes colors at the very extremes of the spectrum into his work. His intensive study of the colors was thus always tied to the materiality of the painting’s ground and the question regarding this influence this would have on the viewer’s perception.
In 2007, Lergon has stopped using color pigments directly – instead, he has been painting with colorless, clear lacquer on technical grounds. These retro reflexive materials were initially grey, later white and they behave unusually concerning how they reflect the light. The images appear either dull or bright, depending on the viewing position and alternate between two-dimensionality and three-dimensionality.
And by using that technique, Lergon creates paintings that dispenses with color pigments, and which essentially come about in the special reflection of the light upon the varnish and painting’s ground. Lergon’s surfaces raise questions about perception, experience, and intuition, simultaneously with those of optics, cosmology, and theory.

Daniel Lergon and the Eigenraum

Daniel Lergon, Nimbi, 2008
Daniel Lergon, Nimbi, 2008

Daniel Lergon’s paintings unite material, form, viewer, method, and light in a system of potentials that demands the most from both spectator and critic. They do not document what has occurred; as much as enable something to occur – while alluding to a unique form of knowledge — an irreducibly human knowledge. Even though Lergon’s work might be labeled “deceptively simple,” his paintings are entirely without deceit as they incline neither too rigidly toward rationalism nor metaphysics, but join these tendencies in a self-determined balance of material, light, and form.

The retro reflective paintings such as Re (2007) or Nimbi (2008) speak about that experiential dimension of Lergon’s work. It is consisting of transparent lacquer applied to highly engineered retro reflective surfaces, and reflecting incoming light rays directly back to their point of origin. Heavily dependent upon prevailing lighting conditions and the location of other works in the exhibit, these retro reflective surfaces are presenting the relationship between light, surface, space, and the observer. His works require each viewer to actively construct his or her own eigenraum, the own space, where reflective consideration and non-reflective experience participate in an alchemy which establishes the spectator as primary architect of meaning.

Inspiration from the Natural World

Lergon’s material selection as well as exhibition titles, are suggesting that he draws inspiration from the natural world – informed by a variety of macro- and microscopic phenomena, he loads his works with scientific subtexts both rich and otherworldly. The title of Lergon’s first solo exhibit, Oktave (2006), alludes to the fact that the upper limit of the visible light spectrum, violet, has double the energy of the lower limit, red (if one has been present shortly after the Big Bang, he would see first a violet radiation, followed by every other color until red, one octave lower).
The other example is the exhibition titled Rotating Remains (2008, with Jorinde Voigt) which refers to the radio frequencies emitted by rapidly spinning neutron stars called pulsars, while Albedo (2007) is the astronomical term for a planetary body’s reflectiveness. By letting in something that is not part of the visible world, he establishes a tension between distant cosmic events and his own intuition.

Antumbra Exhibition

Daniel Lergon, Antumbra, 2011
Daniel Lergon, Antumbra, 2011

In 2011, Lergon held an exhibition at Gallerie Christian Lethart, Cologne. The title, Anatumbra, derives from the technical term coming from the astronomy and geometric optics and describes the area of a shining surface located behind the occluding shadow of an object. At this show, the theme of light has been firmly linked to the notion of shadows. Instead of using bright, light, reflecting materials Lergon paints on a black ground, which, due to its consistency, reflects the light less intensively. Like all the other work, those exhibited are characterized by a deep interest in natural scientific phenomena, which he transforms into aesthetic artworks out of unusual materials. It is a completely individual kind of paintings, one that unlocks the visual potential in the game between light and surface, and the optical effects and perceptions that result from this.

Lergon’s Siderian Tides at Ivorypress

Daniel Lergon, Installation view at Ivorypress, Madrid, Spain, 2013
Daniel Lergon, Installation view at Ivorypress, Madrid, Spain, 2013

In 2013, Madrid gallery Ivorypress presented the first solo exhibition in Spain by this German artist. The show consisted from Lergon’s studies on color, the interaction of light with different surfaces, and optical effects.
The exhibition’s title Siderian Tides alludes to the Siderian period, a geological time that began 2,500 million years ago, when the so-called ‘Great Oxidation Event’ made possible the current chemical composition of oceans and the atmosphere. It was the period when Huronian glaciation was generated, one of the biggest ones in the history of the Earth.
Iron and ice were both key to the transformations of that era, and they are also essential in Lergon’s paintings as they are a metaphor of the duality of light and matter. By combining such scientific subtexts and optical backgrounds with an enigmatic language of painting Daniel Lergon comes to the result of oscillation between these dualities, a trait that characterizes his artistic production.

Daniel Lergon t 2014 NADA Miami Beach

Daniel Lergon, Untitled (copper) at NADA Miami Beach, 2014
Daniel Lergon, Untitled (copper) at NADA Miami Beach, 2014

At 2014 NADA Miami Beach, Cologne’s Galerie Christian Lethert presented an intriguing metallic canvases created through scientific processes of Lergon’s own design. Brandishing chemical reactions and painterly gestures, Daniel Lergon created abstract water-on-metal-on-canvas paintings—is the application of acidified water to metal, which induces oxidation and results in dynamic surface patterns and color changes that range from subtle to striking.
The copper series stands out for its color contrast and composition, and for the complex layering involved. Untitled (copper) (2014), for example, presents a rich copper foundation, on which Lergon has applied a dynamic twisting series of brushstrokes which evidence the chemicals employed through the range of green and icy blue passages of color.
Even though Daniel Lergon has no formal scientific training, he manages to convey themes of inter-connectivity in the universe in his work. Considered to be a “painter who doesn’t use paint,” Lergon has made truly trans-formative work using a process that is entirely his own.

Daniel Lergon lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015EigengrauGallery CHRISTIAN LETHERTSolo
2014New York,Berlin,CologneZeitkunstgalerie, KitzbühelGroup
2014Occupy paintingAutocenter, BerlinGroup
2013Daniel LergonGalerie Almine Rech, BrüsselSolo
2013Potential EisenGalerie Christian Lethert, KölnSolo
2013SuckstractProjektraum Bethanien, BerlinGroup
2013Green Flower StreetGalerie Tatiana Kourochnika, IstanbulGroup
2013Moving,Norman Foster on ArtCarré d'Art, NîmesGroup
2013Status Berlin 02Künstlerhaus Bethanien, BerlinGroup
2013Pavillion 0Palazzo Donà, VenedigGroup
2013Galerie Isa, with Dan Rees und Mindy ShaperoMumbai, IndienGroup
2013In the StudioKunsthalle Athen, GriechenlandGroup
2013Bagdad BatterieGalerie Andreas Huber, WienSolo
2013Siderian TidesIvorypress Spain, MadridSolo
2012RostAndersen’s Contemporary, KopenhagenSolo
20123rd Mediations BiennalePoznan, PolenGroup
2012JetztMuseum, WuppertalGroup
2012GROUPSHOWGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneGroup
2012KurzlichtKma 36, BerlinGroup
2011ANTUMBRAGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneSolo
2011DualisGalerie Christian Larsen, Stockholm, SwedenSolo
2011Private/CorporateSammlung Daimler Contemporary, BerlinGroup
2011Geste. Zufall. Prozess. Neue Abstraktion in der Malerei der GegenwartNosbaum & Reding, LuxemburgGroup
2011A painting showAutocenter, BerlinGroup
2011U Turn ArteBABuenos Aires, ArgentinaGroup
2011LiminalLimbus Europae, BerlinGroup
2011True FaithAndersen’s Contemporary, KopenhagenGroup
2011GroupshowGalerie Christian Lethert,CologneGroup
2011WHITEOUTAlmine Rech, ParisSolo
20113000KAndreas Huber, ViennaSolo
2010IapetusKunstverein MönchengladbachSolo
2010Farbe in der zeitgenössischen KunstKunstverein GießenGroup
2010Vantage PointsGalerie Traversée, MünchenGroup
2010Eine Klasse für sichInfernoesque, BerlinGroup
2010Between Nothingness and EternityRegina Gallery, LondonGroup
2010Das Voynich Manuskript,eine Künstlersicht auf ein RätselKunstverein AscherslebenGroup
201025Sassa Trülzsch, BerlinGroup
2010Neugierig?Kunst und Ausstellungshalle BonnGroup
2010Six days of new mediaLinienstr. 127, BerlinGroup
2010GroupshowGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneGroup
2010Berlin meets Vienna, Salon ÖsterreichKunstverein AscherslebenGroup
2010ElementsAlmine Rech Gallery, BrusselsSolo
2009MedusaGalerie Almine Rech, ParisSolo
2009MetallGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneSolo
20093 KAndersen’s Contemporary, KopenhagenSolo
2009Berlin meets Vienna, Salon ÖsterreichViennaGroup
2009CharitätTÄT, BerlinGroup
2009Promises and premisesGalerie Andreas Huber, ViennaGroup
2009CollaborationAutocenter, BerlinGroup
2009MirageKottbusser Damm 7, BerlinGroup
2009PrivatVon der Heydt Museum, WuppertalGroup
2009GroupshowAlmine Rech Gallery, BrusselsGroup
2009GroupshowAlmine Rech Gallery, BrusselsGroup
2009Group ExhibitionGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneGroup
2008States of MatterAndersen‘s Contemporary, BerlinSolo
2008TargetTÄT, BerlinGroup
2008GroupshowAlmine Rech Gallery, BrusselsGroup
2008State of MindChristian Larsen, StockholmGroup
2008Rotating RemainsGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneGroup
2008Navigation 01/08Galerie Christian Lethert, CologneGroup
2008NimbiGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneSolo
2008cold fireAerea, StockholmSolo
2007ReW.I.P, Galerie Magnus Åklundh, MalmöSolo
2007ExportationGalerie T293, NaplesGroup
2007Zwei Galerien, eine AusstellungGalerie Christian Lethert und Galerie Erhard Klein, Bad MünstereifelGroup
2007Position 02/07Galerie Christian Lethert, KölnGroup
2007UltraKunstverein Schloss Morsbroich, LeverkusenSolo
2007AlbedoGalerie Andreas Huber, ViennaSolo
2007KAndersen's Contemporary, KopenhagenSolo
2006Luxkawumm mit Jorinde Voigt und Ralf ZiervogelGipsstr. 5, BerlinGroup
2006Maleri uden grænserEsbjerg Kunstmuseum, DenmarkGroup
2006Tanz den KommunismusSchickeria, BerlinGroup
2006RioArtnews Projects, BerlinGroup
2006Presented by...Andreas Huber, ViennaGroup
2006OktaveGalerie Christian Lethert, CologneSolo