The first thing one notices about Florian Pelka’s new paintings is the excessive desire for the lushness of the paint itself; a contagious, pulling feeling – also for the viewer – of something unidentifiable but that repeatedly demands to be stilled. Then comes a strange neon-hued chromatic structure that ranges from brilliant yellow to cool violet. It is reminiscent of the light
of a television screen or computer monitor ?and of violet sugar. At times, Pelka applies the paint so richly that it becomes
irresistibly tactile.

Just as digital objects are immaterial and able to be manipulated upon the screens of the information society, Pelka’s iridescent surfaces and perplexing spatial images offer the eye a mutable appearance. Additive color mixing occurs when variably colored points of an object lie so close together that the emitted light has a small difference in angles as it enters the eye. In a color television set or a computer monitor, the representation of a colored point of the image is caused by three closely neighboring points of color. Here, the three primary colors red, green and blue are used, which explains the “RGB color system” designation. Depending upon the three color points’ brightness, certain impressions result in the eye. Pelka is well aware of the tipping points within the color system. He takes his own from these daily experiences with artificial light; from the smoldering painterly hues of sunset, gangrene and surfing the ether. In Zweifel und Wunder, the representations of an on/off switch as well as a flat-screen monitor very clearly refer to described connections in an almost ironic and unsettling way.

Pelka’s images act as a shifting appearance of colored light, as if the light were the substitute for the stream of data. It is more an act of blinding than of illumination. In light of the presently escalating, uncritical worship of “Dresden Pop”, as well as the “New Leipzig School”‘s Böcklin-esque mustiness (especially the remote detonation of fog grenades upon the American art market), Pelka’s artistic position is a self-aware stance against categorization. Pelka may be far along in confidently counteracting the danger of premature neutralization.

Although he does not emphasize honorable museum discipline, his painting confirms exactly this, though he approaches a supremely curious game with the means of its fascination. Pelka is here and there, pursues the birth of the idea of a painting from the idea of a painting. He paints works that are simultaneously abstract and figurative; entangles past, present, future; rills the surfaces and then heroically thrusts into the unknown depths of space: a romantic finding and losing, a chivalrous concealing and revealing that slowly and suggestively accompanies the painting during the process of its creation.

While Pelka’s images are full of noticeable references, they
present themselves as distinctly denarrative zones. Pelka does not narrate. He rather leads the manipulability of lifetime and aura, reflection and paranoia before our eyes – without be-
traying history. Yet this, devoured by fame, appears more often as science fiction than as the convoluted threads in the painter’s life history. Pixel by pixel, brushstroke by brushstroke, the viewer is led down the garden path. What were once adamantly firm understandings, cornerstones of an identity, are now, together, nothing more than a handful of a lightning bolts in an ocean of data streaming around us. The result is that the orientation points are virtualized and relativized into a collection of coincidences.
For he who has decided not on a destruction of forms but rather on their construction, building an image is the most important, the primary. One may want to leave lost values lost, and lay all the weight of nihilistic feeling into the formal and constructive powers of the spirit. Voraciously wanting to know everything, in search of the lessons of truth (Pelka studied philosophy and German studies in addition to art), he speaks on the often misunderstood assertion that style is superior to truth (in conversation with the author on September 13, 2005). But why? Because style carries the proof of existence in itself, while truth need only be believed. Skepticism, the abnegation of belief, creates style exactly for this reason. Pelka therefore confidently puts his sampling style – his subjective, individual truth – into the world.

He unites spaces and planes somewhere in the foundationless cellar in the cathedral of thought, pries open petrifactions, throws it all into a pot, begins creating conceptual bridges, does not conceal contradictions, but rather accepts them and the image ultimately celebrates a permanently blown cosmic fuse.

The object of Pelka’s images is, above all, color. Tottering spatial compartments, implied stages, the interlaying and interlocking of planes, the labyrinthine combination of various realities,
symbols of intellectual acrobatics and objects that only purport
to be symbols. The concrete, the abstract and a high degree
of the absurd mix into always densely worked compositions.

Pictograms of the urban space are found in Zweifel und Wunder, as are figures with symbolic character. The viewer’s horizon can shift at all times. Geometric elements not only lie on the surface, but also melt with and in the color. Perspective is implied through the run of a guardrail, but then loses itself somewhere in the veil of paint. The images from which Pelka gleans his aggressive seduction can both draw the viewer in or hold him at bay. They hint at the world’s symbolic language; query the interlinking of the designating and the designated, about how meaning comes to be. Because, in the process, Pelka does not treat his prototypical motifs and objects indifferently, with dry brushes, but rather dizzily, exuberantly renders the work, and evidence of a painterly tenderness emerges that is instantly overwhelming. What appears to be an abstract chromatic scheme is far more a concrete one of radical devotion or an identity shift – as Zeus attempted to be able to seduce Leda in the form of a swan.

The present possibilities of visualization offer enormous potential not only for art but also for the natural sciences and mathematics. One need only remember that some of the very difficult mathematical theories first became popular in that images of their algorithms could be created and the theories appeared to be accessible. Because today we perceive the world through icons or systems of symbols more quickly than via natural occurrences, it is increasingly normal for art to implant shifting perceptions into the creation of images in the traditional media.

When certain pictograms appear in Pelka’s images, they emerge not only as aesthetic form, but as quotes referring to the world of products. They are also references within the art-immanent reflection of the object of “the painting.” Even if one can say that the avant-garde agenda is somewhat of a liberation from the representation of the material world; that the release of color from its value of representation and that representation in general, up to an aesthetic negativism, has failed, art then can no longer be understood through a concept of beauty or truth.
What looks like a swan in Pelka’s painting is exactly like a toy figure of a knight or a clown. It is a prototype, a manifested image through which experience becomes at all possible. Art as an institutionalized modeling of the world may here constitute a new, unusual frame in the context of opening or developing the world, in which image, appearance, illusion or imagination flow into each other and can no longer be valid as instances of differentiation. Pelka imagines and sees the things as he will, and sees to it that it is a pleasure.

A mixture of hunger for the world, emotionalism and longing – a tendency toward the symbolic and handling with abstract elements – creates everything in all of these floating overtones. This is essentially the most absolute romanticism. The original Parsival by Wolfram von Eschenbach – this hero sunk into melancholy, but treated with a good deal of irony in his question of identity – has pulled Pelka through emotional valleys and over perceptive heights to the un-heroic side (something the artist does not deny!). Dissatisfied with hasty, supposedly valid truths, it is from here that Pelka battles against the flood of symbols and the superficial acceleration of experience with means of alienation.

Pelka develops a network of meta-levels with the necessary means of retro, on which the epically salient swan song and the careful, quotable contact of things could be valid as a vote for all pervasive doubt.