Industrial shades of gray by artist Alan Charlton
The color gray prevails, like some kind of fake reflection. That is the feeling one gets at the Bernier-Eliades Gallery in Thiseion (tel 210.341.3935-7), which is currently hosting works by two artists who also happen to be close friends, Britain’s Alan Charlton and Germany’s Ulrich Ruckriem. Charlton, who recently visited Athens, spoke to Kathimerini about his work and his old friend. He has not stopped using shades of gray since 1969, in a search for an «industrial quality.» While still young, he settled on the color that has become his trademark and made his work decidedly minimal. His works are rectangular canvasses, stretched out with great precision on their frames and painted with industrial, gray paint. Charlton denies that this is abstraction. «If you say that, then you mean that I start out with a lot and then I continue by elimination. I don’t start out with anything, so what I do is incredibly detailed in its structure.» «People talk about my works using terms one would usually use to describe sculpture, not painting,» he said. The 60-year-old artist’s first exhibition was in Germany, where he met Ruckriem. Since then, the two have frequently held joint exhibitions, in which their works always somehow seem connected, although often the two artists have not made any prior arrangement as to the content of the display. Charlton believes their works co-exist very well because Ruckriem’s earthly sculptures seem to act like his own canvasses – they can change their shape and split into parts without ever losing their identity.