Galerie Fons Welters - Amsterdam


An empty highway in a desolate landscape, trees with snapped branches. Puddles of water along the highway, and in the distance, where the highway veers away and vanishes, a mountain. A stormy landscape? The only signs of life are an abandoned car and a few deer standing in the middle of the highway. One of the deer raises its head: is something going on? The ambiguous title of this painting, and of the exhibition, is ingeniously interwoven into the image. Witterung refers to the weather conditions in a particular period, but it is also a term from hunting, which refers to the sense of smell. Metaphorically, etwas wittern means discerning or suspecting something. In the painting Witterung, nature has – temporarily? – regained some of the territory lost to man. The deer with its raised head senses something – but it is not the huntsman. In contrast to other landscapes by Sven Kroner, there appears to be no place for human beings here.

The term Witterung is inextricably bound up with intuition, and hence with the process of painting. Etwas wittern applies to the painter too: he can discern or sense, rather than concluding rationally, the painting he seeks to produce. The painting emerges under the painter’s hand – a hand that, in time, becomes wiser than the mind. In the case of Sven Kroner, painting is a process of planned coincidences, with abstraction constituting the basis for the figurative parts of the painting.

Sven Kroner’s images are always elaborated in series. Each series takes as its point of departure photographs and sketches of landscapes, generally by the painter himself. In the exhibition Witterung, two sources of inspiration predominate. First there are village scenes, loosely based on the village of Kaufbeuren, where the painter spent much of his childhood. Another theme is landscape. Mountain landscapes predominate in this exhibition, as so often in the work of Sven Kroner, but we also find marshland, and a number of scenes best described as stormy landscapes. The landscapes, like the elements they contain, arise from Sven Kroner’s personal experience, but never refer to a specific moment or experience. Elements, perceptions and memories roam around the canvas in ever-new configurations. The same may be said of the acrylic paint, which – applied sometimes transparently, sometimes more thickly – appears to have roamed over the canvas in a constantly changing equilibrium between abstraction and figuration, between larger surfaces and details, before producing the final result.

[Merel van Tilburg]