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101 Masterpieces

Opus 88


Opus 88 - Black Belt Eclipse

 Black Belt Eclipse

HAW, 2005, Museum of Modern Martial Art


About the Work

Over the past centuries, no work of art has evoked more unqualified crticism and lack of understanding than the here presented exhibit. However, a thorough contemplation from an educated beholder willing to expand his horizons can hold up to ridicule any disparaging comment.


Already after few hours, initial feelings of familiarity give way to the experience of an unknown abundance of forms. Overwhelmed by the power of the opus, the viewer feels lost in a multiplicity of possible interpretations. This work cannot be consumed superficially, rather it has to be explored and is virtually longing to get conquered.


The on first glance dominating visual homogeneity turns out to be a dexterous optical illusion, intentionally employed by the artist as a main stylistic device for unveiling his message.


While the inside of the painting is governed by a plethora of monochromatic circles and curvatures, symbolizing specific techniques of various martial arts and the bound form of the belt, its borders to the outside world are characterised by straight and angular motives, portraying other techniques and the belt in its rolled out state. It is this very contrast from which the painting generates its increasing dynamics.


Soon, the wrongly assumed quietness explodes into a massive spectacle of fighting sequences, into a demonstration of highest physical and spiritual energy density, unsurpassed and going beyond the imagination of any action movie choreography.


The lavish absence of technical means, which may elude the untutored eye but is present in every part of the picture, meets its counterpart in the self-assessment of the pseudo budoka. Hardly imaginable is the underlying diversity in perishing forms, acting as a proxy for all martial arts, which the painting is capable to indicate in manifold ways. Thereby the work stands refreshingly out against the weary daub of some Rembrandt or Van Gogh.


At the same time, the composition's proportions make several up to now axiomatic design principles obsolete, thus paving the way, away from obtrusive tinkering with forms and colors, towards a pure contentual dimension of the subject-matter, without ever concealing or even mentioning its appearance. But it is not justified to speak of an extended generalisation of abstract suprematism. Motivated by the title of the work, the Black Belt Eclipse, its interpretation as a complete or partial belt will be misleading. Similarly, the blackness clue is not relevant because one could equally assume a white belt, yellow belt, or any other belt eclipse.


Such a projection makes all belt levels visually indistinguishable. Nothing distracts from the fact that anti-masters and anti-students unmask themselves by their performances, which are born by their respective levels of dilettantism.


The extravagance of the abandoned initial interpretation visualizes the overvaluation of the first impression, produced by the label, i.e. the belt, and simultaneously offers no way out of the so generated opinion vacuum. Thus, the work plays with expectations without neither disappointing nor answering them. It brings to mind one's own biases about skill hierarchies mapped onto color palettes and encourages to critically neglect them.


One waits eagerly for the darkness giving way to brightness and, for inexplicable causes, revealing a well-defined paint, the so called rank, with the belt as its palpable materialisation. 


Without the belts' forced interpretations, it is no longer possible to unequivocally deduce the awarded grade, thereby triggering off a firework of multifacetted possibilities. The fellacy of infering from the color to the real skill level can be perceived in its entire relevance.


This phenomenon will not be diminished, not even after repeated viewing. We are becoming witness to an inherent, itself permanently new inventing illusion which, without any substantial changes, gives birth to ever new hues, eventually producing a self-convinced black from familiar void. The circle of color-pregnant incompetence closes and reflects the events in anti-dojos and anti-associations.



Short Biography of the Artist

Already in his early work, the artist developed first rudimentary concepts of his later masterpieces, which time and again faced lack of appreciation and rejection. 

Eventually he distinguished himself in the field of beef sausage etching and toothpaste litography. Having finished his study of graphic art with a thesis about meandering liquid manure aesthetics, he made a name with groundbreaking works in theoretic passepartout glossing, which he called an indispensable prestage for his artistic ontogenesis.


In 2005, the "Composition with Green, Green and Green" was awarded the sponsorship prize of the Society for Most Modern Art, thereby establishing the financial foundations for the master's further creative oeuvre and a Porsche.


The international success brought multimedia follow-ups, culminating in

a stage play, three ringtones, and several talkshows. Early on, Hollywood bought the rights to the work. Hitherto it was regarded as not screenable, but now progress in computer imaging rendered the project feasible.



Interpretation Hints

Usually it is difficult for the beginner to apprehend the picture as a whole. Therefore it is helpful to separately analyse individual parts and then combine them. Thus the initially infinite set of possible interpretations will be more than halved.


Academically fertilized art historians appraise this work as a logical and long overdue consequence of broken monitor video installations and the acclaimed french fries fat mobiles. 


However, the focus in always on the meaning of the Black Belt Eclipse as a placeholder for the concept of double negation, i.e. the cover-up of the anti-budoka's ingrained inability by means of the very symbol embodying the master level, the blackness, which the present work is able to visualize as the only artefact in the history of human cultures.


Finally, apart from being a huge intellectual asset, this work is a rich visual  feast, redefining the cornerstones of modern aesthetics and leading art into the next millenium.


2007  SWV + TDI