In the midst of all restlessness
feel the peace
in the middle
from the middle
plump the life
I and heart
Nothing explains us better the painterly-philosophical process of the picture-world-emergence than the following sentence of Margit Hartnagel:
"At the beginning the picture is empty, empty it is at the end. In between I painted." (Margit Hartnagel 2014)
The viewer of Margit Hartnagel's well-calculated pictorial spaces experiences a similar experience. Her breathed picture bodies pulsate at the transition of light and dark, of depth and proximity. A world in which emptiness and fullness, material and immaterial are present at the same time. The dissolution of the boundaries of space has been a theme of art not only since the color field painting of a Marc Rothko. Even the pictorial world of Caspar David Friedrich, blurred as it were in a haze, was perceived in this way. His "Monk by the Sea" stands before an almost infinite expanse. Nothing gives hold.
Nevertheless, Margit Hartnagel's pictures do not plunge us into a hopeless melancholy. Her pictorial world answers the essential questions of the world with a thoroughly cheerful and appropriate thoughtfulness and thus betrays a serene state of mind that says, "I have already gone a little way along the path that I sense and at the same time want to go further". The poet Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach called this wise and sensual serenity perhaps the most graceful form of self-awareness. It is most delightful to follow this path, and anyone who feels the suggestive power of the great breathed panels may not even want to live without them.
Martin Oswald (born 1960) is professor of art. Draftsman, curator, author, cabaret artist.