Page 18 - Studio International - August 1965
P. 18

though  they  remain  pregnant  with  a  controlled
                                                                               urgency. A multiplicity of gradations in sepia. ochre and
                                                                               rust-brown gives a  rhythm to the parchment-like sur­
                                                                               faces.  Painting  and  collage  are  inextricably  blended.
                                                                                In his present creations Dahmen gives the paint direct
                                                                               expression.  Now.  in  place  of  the  rocky,  decayed.
                                                                               charred  or  bark-like  tones.  we  get  a  gleaming  red  or,
                                                                               more  recently,  an  occasional  opaque  green  which
                                                                               dominates most of the canvas.  Hitherto green has been

     Resin on canvas 1963  115 x 100 cm.                                       Collage and  paint 1963 60 x 47 cm.

     Montage-Objects on canvas. 1964 Paint and sheet iron 80 x 100 cm.
                                                                               absent  from  Dahmen·s  palette.  and  where  he  uses  it
                                                                               now. it has less a vegetable than a mineral quality.  His
                                                                               composition has altered too. The 'earth crust' no longer
                                                                               continuously spreads over  the  surface of his  pictures.
                                                                               Centres  of  conglobation  or  empty  spaces  make  their
                                                                               appearance. which make one think of closed windows.
                                                                               hidden  panels.  tree  trunks  or  human  forms.  And  yet
                                                                               nothing objective. let alone figurative. is ever intended
                                                                               or expressed. The content results solely from the form.
                                                                               from the structures of the surface. of the multi-layered
                                                                               bakelite colours.  not least from the unrelated working
                                                                               materials that have been incorporated.
                                                                                 Dahmen  is  always  on  the  threshold  of  collage,  of
                                                                               concrete  materials.  A  considerable  part  of  his  work
                                                                               comprises  actual  montages  and  pasted  pictures  from
                                                                               every conceivable alien  material.  The alienation is the
                                                                               decisive  factor.  From  crumpled  rags,  slashed  paste­
                                                                               board.  charred  wood.  torn  emery  paper.  corrugated
                                                                               paper or newspaper,  compositions  rich  in  nuance  are
                                                                               produced.  which  do  not  derive  their effect  from  the
                                                                               material.  but  from  purely  pictorial  values.  Dahmen,
                                                                               though  he  hardly  works  with  the  brush,  is  a  born
                                                                               painter. The means he employs enable him to realise a
                                                                               basically  painterly  conception.  in  which  nothing  is
                                                                               intellectually  contrived  and everything  is instinct  with
                                                                               aesthetic  sense.  The  artist  subscribes  wholeheartedly
                                                                               to the  Tyche.  the  Western  goddess  of  experiment,  of
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