"I was always where the exciting things were happening"
interview with Rainer Fetting
Fetting, New York Painter, 1983,
Galerie Deschler, Berlin,
He brought van
Gogh to West Berlin: in Rainer
Fetting's early paintings, the master loiters beneath the elevated
train; he hangs out near the Wall. The intensity with which the Dutch
artist lived and painted impressed the young German. Fetting's paintings
of cities and landscapes and his male nudes and portraits harbor an inner
glow that set them apart from the dismal grey of '80s Berlin and the
austerity of the art made within the confines of the Wall. In the Deutsche
Bank Collection, the artist is represented with numerous works from
the '80s and '90s. One of them is Girl und Vogel. This work on
paper was the cover motif of the book Contemporary Art at Deutsche Bank
documenting the art found in the twin towers in Frankfurt. Fetting's
tempera drawing with its radiant color shows a kind of dialogue situation
and virtually became an emblematic image for the concept "Art
at work" which enables Deutsche Bank employees to directly
encounter works from the corporate collection.
Rainer Fetting 1983
painter, born 1949 in Wilhelmshaven, became known together with a circle
of colleagues who together founded the artists' gallery at Moritzplatz
and were soon known as the "Moritz Boys." Rainer Fetting became their
star. At the beginning of the 1980s, his paintings were on view in
important exhibitions such as A
New Spirit in Painting at the Royal
Academy in London and Zeitgeist
at the Martin
Gropius Bau in Belin. In addition, he showed his work at top galleries
such as Bruno Bischofberger,
Mary Boone, and Anthony
d'Offay. Together with the band Geile
Tiere, whose members included the "Moritzboys" Salomé
and Luciano Castelli,
Fetting gave a series of performance concerts in 1983 at the Centre
Pompidou in Paris. In 1983 the artist moved to New York; it was here
that he created his first material paintings and sculptures. He was drawn
back to Berlin in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell.
Fetting, Taxis (City Canyon), 1992,
While Rainer Fetting
seemed to have retreated into the background over the past several years,
he is currently being rediscovered, and his paintings are in high demand
at auctions. Rainer Fetting's career has been marked by breaks, detours,
and quarrels; despite all the turbulence, however, he has remained true to
his artistic interests and preferences. Daniel Völzke met the
painter on a stormy day in his huge studio apartment in South Kreuzberg,
at Südstern—a plaza Rainer Fetting painted early on. And Moritzplatz is
just a stone's throw away.
Rainer Fetting, Girl and Vogel, 1982,
Daniel Völzke: Mr Fetting,
more than any other era, the '80s have exerted the strongest influence on
our past decade—in music, art, and in fashion. It must have been a
fantastic time, and you were right in the middle of it.
Fetting: A lot of it wasn't all that great, particularly in the art
scene. And a lot of it was too great for me to find it great. But there
were some really good things outside the art establishment, like the music
scene, which we painters loved.
"We painters?" Do you mean the
"Moritz Boys?" You all showed together at Moritzplatz in West Berlin.
and me. Luciano Castelli
joined later. Music was an important influence.
preferred Jimi Hendrix
and the Rolling Stones.
even painted Hendrix. But wasn't that kind of music frowned upon?
was considered mainstream. On the other hand, I found New Wave dull and
too cold. What turned me off were the same things as in the art scene: a
dryness that I also didn’t like in Minimal Art; all that heavy concept. We
hated the stuff. I always say “we,” but each of us had his own preferences
and intentions, which made our works completely different from one
another’s. It’s only seen as one brand of soup from the outside.
Rainer Fetting at the Palast der Republik, Berlin 2005
Fetting / Galerie Deschler, Berlin
were the "New Wild," as it was called.
dislike the term, because it was used to defame us. It's a shame that
people didn't examine the works instead and treat each artist individually.
you influence one another in your circle of friends?
Galerie am Moritzplatz started as a self-help project, so to speak. But
one prerequisite was that we had similar interests and preferences, of
course, which resulted in mutual influence and inspiration.
you also perceived as a group because the coloration in your paintings was
so different from the art of the time?
Back then, monotonous
grey prevailed, the crippling of the crippled. It was said that "one was
only allowed to use red in old age," or something like that. We countered
these attitudes and positions with our own.
Fetting, Doppelportrait, 1990,