Tanja Rochelmeyer 1975 geboren in / born in Essen, Germany
Lebt und arbeitet in Berlin, Deutschland / lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Wellmann, Marc: Raumsplitter. In: Fahnemann Projects (Hg.): Tanja Rochelmeyer, Berlin 2014, S. 3-5, 43-45 (deutsch/englisch)
Tanja Rochelmeyer arbeitet seit 2008 an einer Serie architektonisch gestimmter Bilder, hinter denen sie als Person fast gänzlich verschwindet. Ihre durchkonstruierten Gebilde sind in einer Maltechnik ausgeführt, die dem Zufall oder der spontanen Intuition sehr wenig Spielraum gestattet. Die Motive werden zunächst im Computer als Photoshop-Dokumente angelegt und dann durch eine Projektionstechnik auf die Leinwand übertragen. Dabei verändern sich mitunter kleinere Details oder einige Farbwerte, aber im Wesentlichen bleibt das im Computer generierte Bild in seiner gemalten Version intakt. Jede Farbfläche wird einzeln bearbeitet und durch Abkleben in ihren Umrissen fixiert. Die äußerst feinschichtige Acrylfarbe wird von Tanja Rochelmeyer in den meisten Partien monochrom aufgetragen. In einigen Fällen tauchen jedoch nuancierte Hell-Dunkel-Verläufe auf, bei denen die Künstlerin bis zu zehn Arbeitsgänge benötigt, um die zunehmend trocken verwendete Farbe mit weichen Pinseln zu verwischen. Bei diesen Partien handelt es sich gleichsam um Zitate eines illusionistischen Chiaroscuros, das die Plastizität eines Körpers suggeriert, ohne sie in der perspektivischen Gestalt des Raumes einzulösen. Aber dazu später mehr. Vordringlich ist zunächst die handwerkliche Vervollkommnung der Arbeiten, ihre formale und materielle Geschlossenheit, die sich auf der Oberfläche zur opaken, straff gespannten Haut eines gleichsam technoiden Malkörpers verdichtet.
Doch um das Wesen ihrer Bilder zu verstehen, muss man noch einen weiteren Schritt zurückgehen. „Es ist genau so in meinem Kopf,“ gab Tanja Rochelmeyer im Gespräch zu Protokoll. Der Computer ist kein gestaltendes Medium, sondern lediglich der Zwischenschritt eines hier einsetzenden handwerklichen Prozesses. Dem technischen Perfektionismus und dem scheinbaren Übergewicht des Zerebralen ihrer Arbeiten, in denen Tanja Rochelmeyers Ausbildung als Ingenieurin greifbar scheint, steht ein Moment der Bildschöpfung gegenüber, der letztlich im Körper und im Subjekt der Künstlerin verortet werden kann. Sie beschreibt die Genese ihrer Werke als intuitive, funkenhafte Schöpfung: „Plötzlich sehe ich dann das Grundgerüst des Bildes, und bis zum Ende verändert sich daran nichts mehr.“ Als Quelle der Inspiration dienen ihr Bilder von Architekturen aus Büchern oder Magazinen. Mögen perspektivische Strukturen oder auch formale Details wie Spiegelungen in Glasflächen auf das piktoriale Material zurückführbar sein, so entsteht in diesem Dialog zwischen fotografischen Vorlagen und dem leiblichen Resonanzraum der Künstlerin etwas völlig Neues, das dann zum gemalten Bild erwächst.
Tanja Rochelmeyers Bilder kann man als Visionen von Räumen bezeichnen. Enthalten sind ihnen Chiffren eines modernistischen Architekturvokabulars in Form von kantig, dynamischen Raumlinien. Der starken Flächenwirkung der monochromen Partien, die sich in vielfachen Ebenen übereinanderlegen und gegenseitig durchdringen, stehen Rudimente von perspektivischen Fluchtungen gegenüber, die optisch in die Tiefe führen. Es sind Inseln eines Illusionismus – wie die bereits beschriebenen Hell-Dunkel-Verläufe – ohne konkrete mimetische Funktion, das heißt ohne den dargestellten Raum wirklich messbar oder erfahrbar werden zu lassen. Tanja Rochelmeyer schafft in ihren Werken das labyrinthische, absurde Gefüge eines zersplitterten Raumes, der Anklänge an die Mulitperspektivität eines kubistischen Bildbegriffs in sich trägt. Doch es geht bei ihren Bildern nur bedingt um optische Fragen. Sie sind eher unter transperspektivischen Aspekten zu greifen als Hybride zwischen dem physikalischen und dem virtuellen Raum. Ihre Arbeiten wurden überzeugend als Echo auf die ungreifbare Ausdehnung und polydimensionalen Struktur des Internets bezogen, das sich immer stärker mit unseren primären sensuellen Erfahrungen verschränkt.  Doch die Gegenwärtigkeit von Tanja Rochelmeyers Malerei könnte vor dem Hintergrund der Genese ihrer Arbeiten auch als somatischen Impuls beschrieben werden, den die Moderne in der künstlerischen Imagination unserer heutigen Zeit zugefügt hat.
Tannert, Christoph: Geometric Confusion. In: Märkisches Museum Witten (Hg.): Mixed, Bönen 2010, S. 42
„The immense picture-historical intelligence with which Tanja Rochelmeyer navigates through space certainly hints at her knowing where the border runs between the grammar of speech and the conventions of speaking. Nothing is turned upside down but the striding through mirrored images and the unfolding of unusual spatial relations make one an accomplice on an exploratory trip which, for untrained eyes and brains, can certainly become an endurance test. But Rochelmeyer conducts this fiddly job with maximum self discipline. And so I perceive even what confuses as a moment of happiness. The realm of freedom only begins on the other side of the forces of necessity. The magic spell that gains access here is: Space is the place. Rochelmeyer’s paintings are characterised by compressions, stretchings and daring changes of direction, they have a high acceleration. The observer’s view follows individual spatial references and time and again stumbles against walls and view traps, some parts at first sight seem conclusive, almost architecturally constructed, others however seem completely free – floating forms but without curves, everything is angular and edged, nothing soft can be found in the forms. All pictures have a constructive hardness, the artist refrains from every homey detail, everything remains a hard cool technical fantasy. Here Rochelmeyer benefits from having made her diploma in engineering, a training that was about attention to detail and mathematical precision. And one sees that in the pictures, the hard language of form is however broken by a very exact and sensitive choice of light and colours, the transitions look as though they had not been painted with a brush but put on by a robot, they are fluid and the passages are hardly recognizable, a plane iridesces casually from anthracite to light grey as though it was sprayed. The colour palette is often dark, but the contrasts are set with a lot of sensibility for the pictorial contexts. No colour stands out without reason, there are no deliberately dissonant contrasts, etc. This is where colour sense reigns. In her latest works (Ohne Titel 1409 / Ohne Titel 0110) the ever-present relations to architecture are less veiled, they clearly come to the fore and yet the pictures fall into abstraction even though one believes to recognize stages, suites, corridors or parts of buildings. The works from 2008 and 2009 follow another principle – there are some works following the schema of figure and ground, with the figure as such being visible but impossible to identify more precisely. Something full of energy and speed rushes through the picture, almost without reference, and yet artists like El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Filippo Tomasso Marinetti and Fortunato Depero act as godfathers. Constructivism meets Futurism and latest architecture and merges into a new modern pictorial language.“
Malycha, Christian: Analysis Situs; The Geometry of Positions. In: Clemens Fahnemann / Fahnemann Projects (Hg.): Tanja Rochelmeyer – Tektonik, Berlin 2011, S. 5-6; 43-44
The Geometry of Position
There is a science called [the] Geometry of Position, which has for its object the study of the relations of position of the different elements of a figure.
Over the profound resonant body that was early Modernism.One must truly marvel over the way that the observation tentatively formulated in 1908 by the French mathematician Poincaré, concerning the individual geometric elements of any given figure and thus its conglomerate nature, is reverberated—albeit with still greater articulation—in painterly terms by the Analytic Cubism of Picasso and Braque, which found its origins in the same year.
Indeed, it is not only the mathematical-physical worldview that undergoes a fundamental upheaval at this time. For painting and its ‘views of the world’, the post-Cézannist undertaking of constructing the world upon the canvas from the ground up as nothing but patches of colour or formal geometric building blocks is unquestionably commensurate.
The initial Geometry of Position, the analysis of positional relationships, is eventually merged with the mathematical study of topology, which views geometric shapes as far more adequate for comprehensively representing topological spaces or uniquely structured topological fields.
Without wanting to belabour the issue of correspondences between the sciences and visual arts, it is nonetheless true that one is able to discern certain parallels to this latter development as well—from the planar nature of Synthetic Cubism or the Abstract Cubism of Delaunay’s Fenêtres from around 1912 to Klee’s grids and magic squares (conceived of during a journey through Tunisia in 1914), or Mondrian’s abstract polarities from 1915 in Domburg, moving onward toward hard-edge painters such as Ellsworth Kelly in the 1950s or—with greater spatial presence since the 1960s—into works by, say, Palermo and Knoebel.
From this evolution, it can finally be inferred that not only a science known as Analysis Situs, or the Geometry of Position, exists but also invariably a sort of painterly pragmatism, that can likewise be ‘called [the] Geometry of Position, which has for its object the study of the relations of position of the different elements of a figure’.
Thus, one encounters topological fields from variously situated geometric elements on the one hand, and pictorial tectonics or the construction of pictures using colour that is no longer bound to the existence of any object on the other—pure colour-field painting.
In this respect, Tanja Rochelmeyer is a painter who builds her pictures out of ‘disinterested pictorial means’, which no longer depict anything figurative whatsoever. What they do instead is picture.
These means do not represent anything; they are something in themselves. They are unbound and self-sustaining, themselves full of floating sustenance. The colour in her paintings is rather ‘form and content’ in one. It cultivates clear and self-composed geometric forms, which, as pictorially structural units, unfold into dissimilarly larger, kaleidoscopically fanning planar geometries.
Rochelmeyer’s paintings are experimental configurations and constitute precise analyses of relentlessly exposed structural proportionalities. They portray no real space but rather, in painterly terms, unfold a virtual, experiential space that makes colour—as the relational phenomenon par excellence—something altogether tangible.
It is the fundamentally changeable and situational ‘recognition of the interaction’, that is made apparent and becomes explicable in these paintings.
The pictorial space therein is something altogether shapeless—a flat, directionless, open and, of late, even indiscernible field. Only the geometric formations upon it finally yield any perceivable form through producing areas of emphasis or even focal points, from which perspective, rhythm or dynamic issue.
Yet the ensuing coolness, this crystalline shapeliness is more an unanchored, abeyant foreshadow then anything literal—a peculiarity of abstract pictures that was first articulated by Kenneth Noland: the notion that vertical formations are most often perceived of as the contours of freely standing objects, whereas horizontally aligned formations tend to remain nonfigurative.
Likewise, Rochelmeyer suspends the relationship between ground and figure in a state of abeyance.
Although what is most often a monochrome background or surrounding environment is provided as contrast to the formations—whether the geometric forms are invested with bright hues and tiered upward before a darker ground, possess a perspectival insinuation of depth that is inherent to the process of their shaping, or are comprised of subtly painted contours which cause the tectonic fields, otherwise well-appeased with the picture plane, to recede all at once as a spatially delineated ground, like a corridor—, the paint is applied in nearly transparent, tenuous washes, which allow the individual colour-forms to achieve an intrinsic depth of their own.
Even if all of the elements present are, in actuality, to be found upon one and the same plane, the immediate optical effect created fosters an oscillating whole.
When beholding Rochelmeyer’s paintings, one becomes a witness to the smooth agility with which she is able to tame geometric power but likewise to the pictorial waywardness that is capable of actuating such seismic discontinuities at all—as veritable planar tectonics.
It is almost as though the gossamer-thin mantle of the picture plane is transformed into a kind of lithosphere that is carried by permanently cataclysmic, ‘subterranean’ streams; under the pressure of hefty tremors, it buckles outward, is jammed together or gapes open in certain zones (convergent plate boundaries), and drifts apart to collapse into deep trenches or reveal gaping fissures (divergent plate boundaries). The visible planar geometries would thus accordingly constitute the palpable repercussions of the existence of the very fault lines that lie hidden within the interior of the paintings.
Therein, the planar cohesion of the individual colour-components (now wanting to splinter apart, now attesting to inevitable coalescence) from which the larger structures that jut through the pictures are finally comprised is crucial.
Rochelmeyer masters this essential task of effecting ‘tectonic jointing’, despite all exposure to tremendous oppositional forces, by organizing the various elements into spatial subdivisions and transferring them into a delicately balanced equilibrium. Instead of curtailing the geometric tension, however, this fragile equation succeeds in actually augmenting the suspense considerably—charges it up all the more, so to speak, in a feat of proportionality.
In this way, the abeyance between limitless emptiness and solid geometry so unique to painting is further exaggerated and thereby transformed into a precariously precise balancing act between anchored consonance and drifting dissonance.
Rochelmeyer proceeds upon the basis of partial turning, twisting or tipping points that she first distributes like coordinates over the canvas with grid-like methodology before stretching and reshaping them into powerful directional vectors; her geometric forms are, as a rule, primarily comprised of such colour modules, elongated or twisted into motion. As soon as the torsional dynamism of the forms has been unleashed, however, she readily entraps it elsewhere through her placement of flight-foiling bars; she ruthlessly represses it and thereby suspends the tectonic velocity of the colour deferrals upon the plane.
Within this suspense-filled convolution of pros and cons—among these inverted edges and this interlaced drifting of the pictorial elements—expression is lent to a meticulous ‘rhythmicisation’ that is, by all means, akin to the way musical variations are based upon small figures, tonal intervals, melodic phrases or more intricate periods.
The highly calculated figures and dynamics underlying the broader formations are developed further using tonal transpositions that occur in the likewise modulated tonality of the hues. As the tonal weights and colour values constitute a substantial portion of the overall pictorial balance, these transpositions are especially effective in stabilising the harmonic-disharmonic cohesion of the geometric structure-values.
Despite the extent to which the coloured compartments of the geometric constructions appear dynamic, liberated or even defiant, it is in fact a variety of grey-black or anthracite formations that finally establish the animated planar correlations by providing the drifting, dissonant chromatic tiers with the restraint required to reunify the pictorial whole. Here as well, Rochelmeyer is proficient in navigating the exceedingly narrow ridge between static existence and dynamic movement.
Especially noteworthy herein is the fact that she refrains more or less entirely from working with the contrastive values of the colours. Consequently, her paintings tend not to burst (apart) with colour in the same way that one would expect of images founded upon a contrast-based build-up. This function is rather relegated to the geometric forms, which are, for that matter, entirely adept at exhibiting what can amount to the fiercest of fissures and most unbridgeable of chasms.
On the contrary, her use of colour is informed by a desire to overspan the closed linear correlative system of the geometric succession of field units with chromatic tonal progressions, thus providing the formations with a new dynamic or, better yet, inciting them toward optical motion.
This astounding gliding of the colour—its movement from one tone over a diverse array of semitones to another interval, this kind of colour-sliding—is akin to a certain ‘familial’ conception of colour which, contrary to contrastive values, knows nothing external or alien. Even the minutely gradated progressions of glazed colour resonate within the same scale, albeit finally achieving a sealed surface-film, over which the gaze is want and able to indulge itself with unabashed reverie. Indeed, within the chromaticity of Rochelmeyer’s linear-genealogical palette, a distinct proximity to the process of creating music is clearly evident.
And like musical compositions, her paintings also call to the beholder from afar and yet maintain a certain impassable distance.
The gaze is able to follow them, approach them, and even virtually lose itself in their meandering geometries. Nonetheless, they ultimately retain a certain aloofness. They remain the untenable and finally impervious constructions of a flat surface covered with colours. As it is, the ‘refusal of these paintings to embody windows into other rooms constitutes their new and austere ability to place demands upon the environments in which they exist.’
The virtual experiential spaces that these paintings unfold, however, are not merely commensurate to demands but rather establish possibilities. What is it, after all, that these images do?
On the one hand, beholding them provides one with an immense sense of satisfaction or even great delight as a consequence of the awareness that—in many ways analogous to the arrival at logical conclusions in general—a disparate aggregate of incoherent elements of form and colour are pulled together (‘pull themselves together’) all at once into a powerfully reconciled order, unified within a harmonic geometric system.
On the other hand, however, this geometric sense of satisfaction over unification and compliance is forthwith undermined in that the precise order is immanently thrust back into a process of dissolution; any footing that may have been won now crumbles, slips or floats away.
In fact, this is so much the case that the formations, having been sent into a perpetual drifting, begin to regroup themselves anew. This occurrence reveals the great extent of the situational, or constellative, methodology with which these pictures are constructed. Furthermore, their lack of any explicitly defined directionality allows them to recalibrate continually along discreet rotational axes and perpetually present themselves in new ways to the gaze.
Thus, when standing before these paintings, seeing itself becomes an active undertaking.
Looking at them entails a continuous schooling of one’s own faculties of awareness and capacity for vigilance. Indeed, one is compelled, as it were, not simply to accept but, much to the contrary, to wilfully search for and finally bare witness to the marvel of how shapelessness be made manifest through form, and how form is nonetheless subject to unavoidable atrophy. Regardless of how abstruse pure geometry may seem, the rather foreign proportionality of its parts is nevertheless highly effectual within the sphere that is occupied by the beholder. It offers a glimpse into the structural coming about of any given thing (and even any kind of form).
For, what Tanja Rochelmeyer’s ‘Analysis Situs’—her pragmatic teaching on positional relations—makes evident is the plain fact that, without structure, nothing would be perceptible at all.
In other or in Gottfried Benn’s words: Recognize the situation!
 Henri Poincaré, Wissenschaft und Methode (Leipzig: 1914), p. 33
 Thomas B. Hess, Abstract Painting: Background and American Phase (New York: 1951), p. 99
 Robert Delaunay, ‘Du Cubisme à l’Art abstrait’, in: Documents inédits publiés, ed. Pierre Francastel (Paris: 1957), p. 67: ‘La couleur est forme et sujet.’
 Josef Albers, Interaction of Color. (Westford, Massachusetts: Yale University, 1975), p. 1
 See Rosalind E. Krauss, ‘On Frontality’, in: Art Forum, vol. VI, Nr. 9, ed. Philip Leider (New York: May, 1968), p. 45
 Also see Hans Heinz Holz, ‘Einführung’, in: Ornamentale Tendenzen in der zeitgenössischen Malerei, exhibition catalogue from the Haus am Waldsee, ed. Thomas Kempas et al. (Berlin: 1968), pp. 4-10
 Primary or complementary colour contrasts are effectively like wedded strangers.
 Laszlo Glozer, ‘für Palermo’, in: Blinky Palermo 1964-1976, exhibition catalogue from the Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst, ed. Walter Bareiss (Munich: 1980), pp. 135-136