Dr. Enno Kaufhold

Thomas Anschütz - Magician of Black and White, Photonews 1995



Individuals make art, whether they use brushes or cameras or other technical means for their work. If this still needed affirmation, it could be dismissed with the reference to Thomas Anschütz alone.


Painting brush and camera have been his artistic tools for almost two decades, with changing preferences, but inseparable from his personality and his artistic will to express, and without a quality difference in the comparison of the media can be seen. If one looks at his development as a painter, who began with realistic images during his academy education in Kassel and then under Rudolf Hausner at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and then had him switched to abstract images, then the abstracting forms found in his camera images much earlier than in his painting; and his inner theme, too, can be more clearly and continuously traced in the photographic images than in the experimentally broader painting.


Thomas Anschütz published his first photographic pictures at the end of the 70s, when an explicit art photography was formed in Germany. External signs for this were the foundations of the magazines PHOTOGRAPHY. Journal of International Fofo Art "by Wolfgang Schulz, Andreas Müller Pohles" European Pholography "

and Joachim Schmid's "Photokritik".


At the same time made by Klaus Honnef from the auteur film acquired "author photographer"

talked about. In the affront to the prevailing journalistic images, Karl Pawek had just brought his fourth world exhibition of photography on tour, exposed the artist photographers with programmatic utterances as documentarists, conceptualists and visual artists. Promoted by an emerging photography market, the fine-print gained popularity again.


Thomas Anschütz was one of the exponents of this avant-garde. His images were characterized by formal reductions on geometrically simple structured designs, whereby he - from the present perspective, he was particularly fascinated from the beginning to reflections in the backlight. If one looks at the pictures of these years today, and this does not mean only those of Thomas Anschütz, they are remarkably powerless in their formal formations and their radical cut-outs and introductions. In their abstractions and reductions, they are formally rather than emotionally constructed, constructed with calculus, and very top-heavy. They refuse to have clearly established viewing habits and every kind of journalistic narrative. In this attitude of refusal and demarcation, they were more deeply rooted than in the vital life. It is no coincidence that many of these pictures show no horizon and do not reveal a social reference field; they are deserted in the very word of the word and ultimately have anemic effect.


Thomas Anschütz's artistic career broke off abruptly when he moved to New York in 1981, preferring to work in painting, seemingly no longer existent as an artistic photographer. The stay in New York lasted eight years, eight years, during which he was given nothing in the struggle for the pure existence and the artistic form. At the same time, the revitalization of his painting and then his own photography, which he silently pursued, can not be misunderstood.

New York, with its harsh and unsentimental demands, left its mark, including the impulses it received in particular from some of the artists of Abstract Expressionism, such as Mark Rothko, but even more so Franz Kline and Roberl Motherwell. He reaffirmed his commitment to pictorial abstraction and to the use of pure black and white as the sole means of color. By reducing the color palette to these two bipolar color values, his painting came closer to the superficial appearance of his photograph. When asked why he used only black and white, he once said that colors would always associate things or phenomena, so green is vegetation, blue is sky. On the other hand, the black and white would allow independent interpretations, so that interpretations and interpretations could change more freely.


He has remained faithful to the pictorial design of pure black and white since he returned to Germany in 1990 and lives and works in Strausberg near Berlin, apart from occasional outbreaks of extreme color. Since then, painting and photography have been conducted in constructive coexistence, although the artistic experiences in each of the two media remain fundamentally different, but nevertheless interact with one another. The differences are especially in the work processes. Painting is an additive for Thomas Anschütz