Ben Willikens
Auditorium: Die Dynamik der Idee, 1990

Ben Willikens subject is the representation of empty, hermetically sealed spaces. His paintings draws observers into their space, causing them to see things in a new way, as lone individuals, isolated from society. These spatial illusions are lent an often clinical coldness by Willikens’s perfectly graduated shading zones, which could also be seen as individual constructive color fields that are used to build up the space in an architectonic way. This brings us to the two formal aspects that have characterised Willikens’s œuvre since the mid-1980s: a Renaissance central perspective and the parameters of concrete constructivist art. Willikens’s paintings are generally preceded by a number of sketches, in which he explores modulations of color in order to find the correct proportions for the color surfaces that confront each other in his paintings.The murals are based on the final sketches, which are perfect in every detail and to scale. These are not created from combinations of black and white like the smaller studies. Instead, the grey tones are mixed from almost 50 different complimentary colors giving them an evanescent atmospheric effect. The grey tones suggest color. “These mixtures – orange and blue, for instance – create a homeopathic light-dark color system. The color scale is established as the work progresses. The hardest part for me was working out which contrasts I can use? How is light deployed here?” (B.W.)

Ben Willikens

* 1939 Leipzig, D
Lives and works inStuttgart, D
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Ben Willikens
Auditorium: Das All, 1990
Acrylic on gypseous alabaster
Ben Willikens
Auditorium: Der Raum des Erfinders, 1990
Acrylic on canvas on wall plaster
Ben Willikens
Raum 371, Erich Buchholz (Atelier Herkulesufer 15, Berlin 1922), 2004
Acrylic on canvas

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