Serie bianca and Lyric Pieces

by Thomas Sello, Hamburger Kunsthalle

It is above all the vibrant lightness that characterises so many of Carmen Hillers' works, even when the colours are applied in a very dense manner, as in the Lyric Pieces. The works vibrate not only in the shapes and rhythms of the lines, but also in the application of colour. They are not canvases, but Carmen Hillers paints on light fabric, voile, a little bit translucent, which remains visible as structure underneath the paint: For the colour, applied as egg tempera, will vibrate in the surfaces like tones of music. From close up it can be seen that in this painting each brushstroke not only "sits" but also swings within the framework of a delicate web of lines, which as a rule is not set on the colour, but is created by meticulous recesses in which underlying layers of colour or the pure fabric of the fabric emerge.


And the bianca series, the White series, is all the more characterised by lightness. The lines consist of fine silk ribbons, cut out by hand from painted fabrics. Only when fixed to the white cardboard the lines and shapes are modelled spontaneously and meditatively. This produces lively edges, comparable to the burrs of a dry point etching, an invention of Rembrandt: the etching needle is used to make powerful incisions in the copper plate, giving the edges of the lines frayed burrs that reveal the artist's spontaneous handwriting. Such spontaneity is an essential characteristic of Hillers' works from the bianca series, which on the other hand radiate a great calm.