Frank Auerbach



David Landau, 2007, etching on paper, 40.5 x 30cm.

Frank Auerbach has more or less been painting or drawing everyday of his adult life. Even when he’s not, he’s probably reading about it.

His ability to study the same faces and landscapes day in day out and yet de-familiarise every one of them astounds me. Never does one drawing appear the same as the last. I believe most artists feel a compulsion to respond creatively, but Auerbach takes this to a new level, almost an instinctive animal need. 

There appears to be an almost equal level of objectivity and subjectivity to his work. Forming fairly distant relationships with a sitter but never truly communicating with them. In that sense Auerbach will have some attachment to them, but reserved enough to scrutinise them daily. I would imagine Auerbach is attached to most of his sitters in the way we are to our mobile phones. Yes we obsess over them, but if we loose it we would simply acquire another.

He leaves an echo of considered marks laden with meaning. It’s as though his eyes can slow time freeing him to become totally immersed in his drawing. His work becomes a meditation on the world before him, A way of making sense of the, pardon my french but ‘fucked up mess’ we live in. Drawing forms a major part of Auerbach’s daily routine, he lives in a cycle of of react and record. In that sense the message Auerbach gives in this work and most others is that of observation. His eyes are forever switched on.

…Then again he is so illusive, I could be completely wrong!

I’m sorry this is late!!!


One thought on “Frank Auerbach

  1. This drawing reminds me of some work from George Grosz in his exhibition in the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. There they showed mostly some drawings of Grosz and also a series of pieces where he kept drawing portraits of a friend it was I guess. So you basically could see over and over again the same person and yet each drawing was different. I think they told us in the exhibition that after drawing this person Grosz in the end draw him more by his memory then by really looking at the object. And that I think is the very interesting aspect of drawing. it’s the process that happens that after you look at an object for drawing it, you then really see it and understand it and by looking and drawing the same object over and over again, your eyes and your mind learn the object itself, they recognise it.

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