‘The Tragedy of Landscape’ Artist Interview: Wieland Payer

Could you tell us a little about your background and what you have been up to recently?

I am a German artist, did a Diploma degree at the Burg Giebichenstein, Halle/ S in drawing and printmaking and subsequently did an MA printmaking at the RCA. My work is drawing based. I work most of the time with pastel but like also to apply other techniques, prints and objects as well.

Since my early studies the main interest lays in creating landscapes. In my work a Romantic perception of landscape, my interest for Science – Fiction, Utopias and Architecture merges with each other.

Most of the series start after travels. Impressions are recorded by photography. My recent work transfers this documental view, which suggests a sort of true, which is challenged by abstract elements. The drawings “Art Ufo exploding” and “Game” are results of these latest series, inspired by hiking tours around the Monte Rosa (Northern Italy).

Another layer of my work is the interest in the philosophy of history, especially ideas of the rise and fall of cultures. Inspired by the 18th century Piranesi prints of the roman remains I ask what the people in the future might think of the remains of our time. The “Temple” series is the result of this process. Thereby the ruin is a positive symbol. Decay in order to give space for something new.

The series of the Souvenir bronzes apply this thought in three dimensions. Inspired by the architecture models of the seven world wonders at the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.

studio viewII

Could you tell us about what the thinking is about your practice (any particular influences?) 

I am not only interested of German Romanticism, the Dresden circle of C.D.Friedrich and other and the ongoing tradition of German art including Böcklin, Max Ernst and the latest Leipzig school. There is another path, starting with naive art of the middle Ages, touching the Chinese and Japanese Art, especially the woodcut tradition of Hokusai and Hiroshige, leading to Whistler’s aestheticism and the East German abstract Master Gerhard Altenbourg. Like these masters I do aim for a certain balance in my works. Often a mood or a harmony of colours is the starting point of a drawing.

studio view III

Could you tell us about how your works are made?

The “Temple” series are Lithographs and all hand printed from stone and plates of Zinc. It is printed in different workshops in up to 10 steps. Every colour has to be printed separately, which takes quite a long time.

“Souvenir I” is a unique bronze cast.

The drawings are a combination of pastel, charcoal and pencil on paper, mounted on board.

It starts with thin layers of pastel, applied with sponges; layer for layer the drawings starts to grow. I am not only using the sticks and sponges but also brushes and pastel pens.( see images)

pastel sticks

Could you say a little about the work you have in The Tragedy of Landscape?

See question above!

pastel mixing paper