Characteristic of the work of Mario Reis , who was born in Weingarten in Upper Swabia in 1953, is the momentum of elementary forces he initiated with the help of diverse media, which he employs to actively participate in the creative act of design. His richly varied spectrum ranges from artistically recorded Train Tracks, over flowing water in his Natural Watercolors, real firecrackers in the Scores of a Frog Concerto, Champagne Cork Stamp Images to Oxidation Processes of salt and copper, the creative potential of which Mario Reis gives artistic form.
The so-called Blind Drawings from the Manifesto of Impulses arise when Mario Reis attaches pencils (or occasionally colored pencils) to his fingers, closes his eyes and – depending on the project – lets his fingers dance on the paper (Dance of the Right Hand), or in a state of poise, just putting on the tips of the pencils, without any planned movement that leaves trembling traces (of exhaustion) over time (Body Vibrations) or in turbulent dynamics, controlled, but without any composition (because the eyes are closed), take possession of the sheet (Manifesto of Impulses). None of these Blind Drawingscould ever be repeated. All are snapshots of the respective physical and psychological properties, notations of life.
The first Blind Drawings were made in Switzerland when Günther Uecker former master student wanted to give artistic expression to his observations and perceptions during a study visit with Uecker and his class in 1980 in a psychiatric clinic in Littenheid. Life with the patients in the clinic had a peculiar effect on the young artist, it was a world of its own, apart from everything known. At that time he entered into a dialogue in his Blind Drawings.
The Smoke Trace Works employing fireworks, so-called firecrackers, were created under the title Score of a Frog Concerto essentially from 1984, but ultimately go back to his Train Track and Rail Images from 1978, in which an express train already left smoke traces on a white painted canvas. Subsequently, Mario Reis mounted firecrackers on canvas and lit them, then he wrapped fireworks in cloths or locked them in closed boxes, in which they developed a life of their own when ignited and left traces of smoke. Most recently he has dipped the ‘frogs’ in color, changed the image carriers and materials and combined the image result with other elements that occasionally evoke associations that can be interpreted in terms of content and – through titles such as Frog in the Trap – clearly also show the humorous side of the artist.
It is astonishing that the image results by Mario Reis, which are never ‘designed’ in the conventional sense, whose design processes are only initiated (and terminated) by the artist – like a choreographer – nevertheless always have a high aesthetic reality, an almost painterly poetry in beauty and authenticity.
Reis studied from 1973 to 1978 at the State Art Academy in Düsseldorf. From 1978 to 1979 he was a master student of Prof. Günther Uecker. His works are part of many public and private art collections all over the globe.
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