The invented motif.
Strange cloud formations drift along the horizon, human faces stare fixedly out of an indefinable space and small watercolours, miniatures, show atmospheric landscapes and reveal only a fraction of a story.
Nature and man are the two great themes that Herbert Beck (1920-2010) dealt with throughout his life. His watercolours allow us to participate in his inner world, his feelings and his imagination - they are invented motifs. Herbert Beck thus stands in the tradition of the "Inventum", the artistic idea that has played an important role in European art theory since the Renaissance: it is not the depiction of nature, but the creative realisation of one's own and original pictorial ideas that makes the artist an artist in the first place.
Without an outside, however, there is no inside: Beck's watercolours are inspired by reality - by the view over the lake or the sea, the idiosyncratic clouds floating over the water and the mountains, by lived situations and experiences. But he simplifies his motifs and lets the colour take the stage: instead of a delicate, glazing colourfulness that one might expect in watercolour painting, his motifs are immersed in intense, glowing colours - the pictorial space becomes an individual space of experience.
Beck uses the watercolour technique with that great ease and perfection that only comes from decades of practice: The colours flow over the wetted handmade paper, intuitively developing his pictorial compositions, which, however, remain open to our associations and perceptions, more over to individual discovery. It is as if he lures us into his pictorial worlds with the phenomenon of pareidolia, and when we look at them, our imagination immediately stirs: the cloud becomes a flying figure, abstract forms transform into petals and the miniatures continue to spin their stories...
© Beck & Eggeling