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Markus Raetz

Ohne Title (Carona, 21.VI.1973), 1973
finger drawing with thinned Indian ink on three sheets of paper, mounted on cardboard
158.0 x 69.0 cm
The pleasure of contemplating clouds chased by the wind which are gradually transformed and take on hybrid forms, shifting from one image to another – this is not a pleasure for children only. Markus Raetz invites us to look at what he sees, put our eyes where his are, and share with him his exploration of visible phenomena.

After a stay in Amsterdam, Raetz settled in the village of Carona in Ticino between 1973 and 1976. There he practiced pen-and-ink drawing, which he often mounted in vertical multipart pieces with several images contained in the same frame. Through these juxtapositions, recurrent motifs appear, dialogue, assume new shapes and create oscillations between abstract structures and other almost monstrous ones. Thus a face becomes a landscape, hair that is curly, straight or braided is transformed into calm then torrential water, and that water in turn takes on the aspect of woven cloth.

Adopting an approach similar to Leonardo da Vinci’s, Raetz observes and captures in his drawings the fluidity of streaming water and the volatility of air. These motifs, like the study of the movement of hair or a wave, have been present in Raetz’s work since the 1960s as hints of his interest in anamorphosis and the constant flow of things. Water and hair are part of his research on the relations between the human and nature and the perception of one and the other through drawing.

It is this series exploring the resemblance of undulating surfaces that gave rise to O.T. (Carona, 21.VI.1973). Here the fragment of a face in the upper part of the composition induces us to perceive the details of a wavy head of hair in the succeeding drawings. By way of a veiled allusion, Raetz adds in the upper drawing a small silver star twinkling in the figure’s gaze.
Markus Raetz, Ohne Title (Carona, 21.VI.1973), 1973