Lukas R. Vogel: LRV² (squared)
Any artist’s career, considered over enough time, can resemble a journey with an internal, retrospective logic that makes it seem as if their destination had been predetermined. The Lukas R. Vogel2 solo show, focusing on his use of the square format, with its traditional chronological path from the earliest to the latest work usually reinforces that impression. The reality is that few artists know where they’re heading when they start out on their journeys. They follow the work, often stumbling in the dark, with the prospect of change their constant companion. Their paths meander, double back, run into dead ends. They discover unexpected vistas. But in this retrospective exhibition, we don’t see the failures, concentrating on the vistas opened up by the artist’s successes.
Self-taught, Lukas R. Vogel was one most important versatile and productive contemporary artists in the Engadine. His production is characterised by the fascination for the mountains, his career privileges the act over the artifact, the moment over the monument. From Impression: Blick ins Val Roseg, Abend, 2006 through Momentum monochrom: Piz Palü, Abend, 2014 to Momentum: Piz Badile am Abend, released in 2016, the year of his death, Vogel has sensitively probed the relationship between human experience and the natural world experiencing different techniques and styles. The “Impression” series sets sunlit mountain sides, highlighted with genuine gold leaf, against a plain background, giving to the subjects a new dimension. These “Impression” led on to the “Momentum” series. Prominent summits are depicted in a purist style, solely by the light falling on them.
Vogel’s works are a nexus of the elemental-in terms of their physical materials and subjects from which they are composed, and the universal forces and natural phenomenon that shape their creation and maturation over time. In his loved Swiss mountains, the artist finds the process of making his art meditative. Each polychromatic surface is different in its own interesting ways with a distinct materiality; it is the curious combination of control and spontaneity that seems to excite Vogel the most.
From his early works to his later explorations translated in paintings inside the four walls of his two studios Vogel leads us in his depth of vision, with an environmental and cultural consciousness to a greater understanding of the language of the natural world and our “places” in it. The artist Lukas R. Vogel was able to suggest great depth and gravitational force in his depictions of the mountains conveying in the viewers new forms of sublime experience.