Martin Flemming’s (*1982) interest lies the mathematical systems found in the formal language of
Bauhaus, Brutalist architecture and Minimalism. For his third solo exhibition at Galerie koal, Flemming presents Measure, Leisure, Puke & Pleasure,a series of 49 watercolours based on a film strip originally produced for his film Komposition in Grau (Rue de Beton),2010.
For Flemming,the triangle can be thought of as the basis for pure,modular form - with the potential to be infinitely transformed.Hung in a square formation, each of his triangularly matted watercolours represents a possible mathematical combination of lines within this form,as dictated by the kaleidoscopic effect rendered in his film - and with each iteration of the system evolving to become more complex.This methodical, linear approach to painting becomes further apparent in the naming and numbering of the series,which highlights single frames within Komposition in Grau’s time code.
And yet, Flemming creates a fissure in an otherwise structured approach to pure abstraction through a number of disruptive,playful measures.Just as brutalist concrete shapes approach an uncanny form of ornamentation when seen through the rotating lens of a kaleidoscope,the cool condition of Flemming’s paintings is challenged by the unruly nature of watercolour.
Pure abstraction is often associated with notions of catharsis,to the slow- burning search for irreducible form. Flemming’s formal language surely references this,but his decision to limit Measure, Leisure, Puke, & Pleasure to a finite number of works - as opposed to creating the framework for a ‘ life- work’of abstraction and reduction - is another playful blow to his otherwise rigid structure.After all,Martin Flemming’s interest perhaps lies in building,but not necessarily maintaining or worshipping the systems he creates.