Colin Penno at Berthold Pott / Cologne

Colin Penno / MOB

8 September – 7 October 2017

Berthold Pott
An der Schanz 1a
50735 Cologne

Prismatic colours shine through under the surface of the broken form of Colin Penno’s ‘shaped canvas’. Painted over – you could almost say inundated with black paint – a tension between the contrary layers of colour builds up on the surface of the large panel painting SCABO. It triggers a longing for what is absent, which is equivalent to a manifestation of actual beauty. Penno clearly increases this degree of absence in the white, L-shaped work SCIT, which hangs adjacently and appears as though it has detached itself from SCABO. This ‘fragment’ – and this once again demonstrates the potency of the panel painting in the Western tradition and, with this, in the Western perception – can barely stand on its own on the wall. Instead, it refers to a void, or to be more precise to the rectangular form of the painting. One is instinctively tempted to insert the piece, as though in a puzzle, into the form of SCABO; but it doesn’t fit, it refuses to – the impulse thwarts itself.

A constant theme of this new series, which is being presented for the first time in this constellation, are the interrelationships, transitions, and breaks between painting and its expansions into space, even into sculpture. Penno plays through this with numerous variants. In this context, his smaller amorphous wall piece are, in a certain sense, ‘convivial’; they extend the dialogue between two works. A pair with two nearly identical incisions, which declare the wall behind as part of the painting; oddly-shaped, seemingly incidental contours call to mind communicating tubes, the connection of which is not visible. Were one to lay them over each other like fitting elements, they would create an optical illusion. Their difference becomes increasingly obvious, and the idea merges into irregularity and shapelessness. For the Untitled Grip-Painting, Penno uses grip tape, which ensures the slip resistance of skateboards. Simultaneously repellent and fascinating, this challenges the viewer and tempts him through the shimmering colourfulness that lies behind. The pair, SCAT and SCUTA, protrude far out into the space; the reliefs conceal more than they reveal and ultimately manifest themselves in another pair of free-standing sculptures consisting of cut-outs stacked on top of each other.

Penno unleashes strong dynamics between the works of the dyads and their relationship to the other pairs. The forms that illusorily wander through the space appear coincidental, but have actually been painstakingly planned and composed on the computer with drawings. Penno applies the paint to the works while they lie on the floor; not seldom do they initially spend a lot of time in this horizontal position – footprints and other traces provide evidence of this genesis. Despite all the preparatory work, Penno sees chance and the production process as being variable and precisely for this reason also as meaningful, in the sense that they provide meaning. He explores the form of the panel painting and its sculptural expansion into space as a kind of anti-panel-painting. Here as well, one finds the raster dots that call to mind the silkscreen process but have actually been applied manually by Penno. And the printed fabrics that serve as the painting support form one of the many substances of the images that lie and endure in the absent layers – barely audible.

Anna Fricke


Colin Penno (born 1980, lives and works in Essen, Studies: 2003-2010: Folkwang UDK, Essen, Diploma Photography, 2010-2015 Academy of Art, Düsseldorf (2015 master class)

selected solo exhibitions: Berthold Pott (2017, 2015, 2013), NADA New York (2016), The Cabin, Los Angeles; USA (2015), Schloß Rheda-Wiedenbrück (2014), Walzwerk Düsseldorf (2013)

selected group exhibitions: Lepsien Art Foundation, Düsseldorf (2017), Geukens De Vil, Antwerp, Belgium (2016/2017), Sunday´s Copenhagen, Denmark (2016), Hort Family Collection, New York, USA (2016), Auction Exhibitio Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (MDD), Ghent, Belgium (2016), McKinsey, curated by Arne Reimann, Düsseldorf (2015), Berthold Pott, Cologne (2014), Maschienenhaus Essen (2013), Kunsthaus Essen (2013)