Text by Dr Gerhard Charles Rump
As is well known, colour is not a property of things, but a function of our perception, whereby pictures with colour themes touch people very directly: His visual perception, his emotional attitude, his life experience. Mike and Madeleine Bülow’s paintings are unique in many respects. They are, due to the fluidity of the production process, not reproducible. Being once, never the same again. Their existence is a singular affair: born out of the direct interaction of motif and medium, they carry within them the romantic dualism of material and process, refusing limitations and demanding concentration on pictorial values. A strict, ascetic approach, however airy and playful the motif may then appear, unites with universal statements. For the viewer, the result is a thingness that seems to be located outside this world. In the act of seeing, nothing dissolves, it is like a romantic arabesque striving for infinity, of course in a contemporary form – no evocation of the past, only here, now and also maybe then…
In some of the more recent works, the play with perception is varied, because figurative associations arise under the chosen angle of vision: Appearance Gestalt perception… The recognition of what is known in seemingly disordered visual stimuli. Fascinating phenomena often emerge at the intersection of finitude and infinity: the paintings of Mike and Madeleine Bülow pretend to be describable, but are incomparable and set their own conditions of reflection of pictoriality through their uniqueness and material appeal.
Text by Dr. Gerhart Charles Rump
The artists Mike & Madeleine Bülow have chosen „The Symphonies of Colors ℠„ as their main title of their ongoing series of works. The colour body of her works is suspended in a liquid, and then photographed, and then selected, printed and presented. What the viewers see is, indeed, a symphony of colours, incorporating musical principles (other arists have done that, too, and composers have attempted to conjure up images in our minds), but the colours are not spread out on a flat and even surface, and they are seen as 3D, creating their own space, their own universe if you so wish.
The colour hues are different from what you experience in everyday life. Notwithstanding their unique character, they still do remind you of the things you know, you have seen before, and you are sure to see in the future. The reason for this is that Mike & Madeleine Bülow rely on certain principles of our perception, and of our biology, too. Every single colour, in whatever tone it may be clad, corresponds with the form, meaning that the same colour in a different form will have a different effect.
This is so because form is unchanging, it is a character of the material thing. Its colour, on the contrary, is not. Colour is an optical effect. An optical effect working directly on and with with our psyche and our experiences. This can easily be demonstrated by placing what in our everyday use would be called a red ball in a box and green late is shed on it, The colour, which in broad daylight appears to us as red, will change. But the form of the ball will, of course, not.
Some of the contrasts Mike & Madeleine Bülow will inevitably use are highly alerting. They do refer to biology, because some animals use those contrast like red and black or yellow and black or vivid bright colours, in order to fend off their predators. A frog in the Brazilian rain forest, brightly coloured, with vivid contrasts of colour in his skin, signalises to its predators: „I am poisonous, keep off.“ In the same way other animals use those contrasts to signalize „I do not taste good“ or „I am dangerous.“ We instinctively re-experience those effects, because we still have a heritage of those perceptive elements inside ourselves.
But there is, of course, more to it. Their main objective is to probe into the relationship between colour and form. Plus, of course, the effects these relations have on our perception, and therefore our emotions. When Josef Albers investigated the interrelationship of colour and form, he chose a defined area, on a flat surface, and chosen an abstract albeit geometrical form. Mike & Madeleine Bülow go about their business in a completely different way, Renouncing the flat surface and therefore elevating painting into the third dimension, one might say that their works are sculptures. But that is only true in the process of creation. The images of Mike & Madeleine Bülow are photographs, and therefore 2-D representations of 3-D objects, thus connecting to the tradition of representing space on a flat surface, which has been so admirably described in John White‘s book „The birth and rebirth of pictorial space“.
The gist of it all is that Mike & Madeleine Bülow create a universe of colours incorporating musical principles, biological principles, aiming at our psyche through the architecture of our perception. The range of our aesthetics is, in their works, constantly being widened and goes on to explore new dimensions.