(Artistbook) published in the Salon Verlag, Cologne, 1997


"Camouflage" is said to be conveniently used by Nature when the risk of being discovered is too great. Clad in fine garments of green luxuriance, of striking elegance or earthy tones, she has her safe haven from the prying eyes of biochemists, biomimeticians and other intruders. However, behind all this play with beauty she hides her true face: cruelty. When you observe Nature without any Rousseauist yearning, you see that this two-faced aspect invests all natural phenomena. Attributing a benign or malignant influence to Nature is, just like any cultural interest, subject to the whims of fashion. Ten years ago we still favored the Sadean tendency which presupposes, with cynical standoffishness, that human and animal suffering is a basic fact of life. Today we see Rousseau's and de Sades' attitudes as two sides of the same coin and we hardly take heed of the paradoxes, which appear in their distictive worlds of thougt. Thus is our attitude towards Nature based on the profound recognition, that what we call Nature has already been "cultivated" many times and must, time and time again, be put in perspective.

"The Third Chamber" opens the door to a domain that we call the "garden". This garden finds its origin in the microscopic widening of an interspace, which grows out of the seam in an asphalt fault. From this interspace sprouts the weed that nourishes our images. Not only the stringing together of the visual ideas but their embedding in a systematic configuration has been revealed to us as a method. The process of embracing these ideas we illustrate by using the emblematic concept of the "The Third Chamber". To conceive gardens on unbuilt surfaces seems a luxury. Planted out of the metropolitan wastelands, the garden serves as a cipher of reconciliation. We see in this an opportunity to link up with the historical moment, when painting influenced landscape gardening and horticulture led to new motifs in painting. Our "soil" is formed by the conceptual space of Utopia. Painting opens up tabooed spaces and gives them public value. Our conviction is that painting, beyond abstractionism and beyond the autonomous gesture, can follow an assignment and beyond meaning - even when the content is freely determined - undergo innovation. The search for ways to achieve this seems to us now to be the greatest artistic challenge.