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Feed-back proves, feed-back is law III Charles Olson
© Walter Stöhrer / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Walter Stöhrer

Feed-back beweists, Feed-back ist Gesetz III Charles Olson / Feed-back proves, feed-back is law III Charles Olson, 1982

Mixed media on canvas
200 × 250 cm

signed and dated on the upper right: W. Stöhrer 1982

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The picture with a collaged porn photo was created during a working stay in Sina-lunga in Tuscany.
Literature: Walter Stöhrer. Catalog raisonné of paintings 1957-1999, Berlin 2008, p. 328 (cat. no. 82.25).

With the cryptic line "Feed-back beweists, Feed-back ist Gesetz", which determines the left quarter of the picture, Walter Stöhrer takes a little-known poetics as the occasion for some of his paintings, which are linked with the name of the US-American poet Charles Olson. They were created during a working stay in Sinalunga (Tuscany). Starting from Norbert Wiener's book "Cybernetics and Society", he adopted his so-called poetics of feedback, which he understood less as a system of control over something achieved, like Wiener, than explicitly as a law. Olson saw in it an epistemological technique by which man expresses his reverence for the power of nature. In the process of constant change, man should develop an attitude that harnesses the energy of this process rather than controlling it. Stöhrer must have been fascinated by such a postulate of natural elemental power. In his 1982 work, he makes this untamed energy, which grows out of the titular statement, the evidence of his painting style. Bold in the cloudy presence of white, with swaths of color and linear settings between scripted gestures and figurative hints-which rub associatively against a partially painted-over series of photographs presumably from a magazine with hard-to-identify depictions-presumably of medical surgery scenes. The drasticness of both the fiction of the painterly gesture and the collaged real drasticness, which in Stöhrer's case can also include pornographic motifs, also demands a kind of feedback from the viewer that can serve as proof of the lawfulness of an Elan vital. The title line is found in Olson's poem "The Kingfishers": "Not one death but many, / not increase but change, feed-back beweists, feed-back / is law".
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