The German painter, Rolf Behm, was born in 1952 at Karlsruhe, close to the black forest,
where he studied at the academy of fine arts with Prof. Markus Lüpertz from 1973-77. In
1977-78 he has been on a DAAD grant in London and in the beginning of 1979 he moved to
Berlin(Germany) where he still lives and works. In 1984 he spent one year in Florence(Italy)
at the Villa Romana as artist in residence. In 1993 he took part of a german-brazilian artists
workshop at Maceio ,Brazil. From then he regularly visited Brazil, where he meanwhile runs
a studio in Rio de Janeiro living and working there during a part of the year.
Rolf Behm’s paintings reflect various aspects of 20 th century art without being actually
dependent on direct derivative relationships. Thus echoes are found of the Informel period in
the fifties but also of colour-field painting and Surrealism. It was the Surrealists who stressed
the significance for painting of association and allowing the imagination free rein. A similar
attitude underpins Rolf Behm’s work, the result of a differentiated associative process which
is significant for his creative approach to the composition of painting.
Main characteristics of his work are colour, light and space. In his semiabstract paintings he
connects the three components in a specific way, combining the brightness and transparency
of oil and acrylic paint to illuminate abstract forms and give a depth to the surface.
The recent works which will be shown at the exhibition called “about the weather”, is based
on a very significant motive of Rio de Janeiro’s landscape, the so called sugar loaf and the
tropical atmosphere and light. The simple and monumental shape of this rock as well as the
richness of tropical colours inspires him and can be found on many of his latest paintings.
Using partly decorative shapes in thin and transparent mixed media(oil and acrylic paint one
above the other) reminding of clouds and tracks of drippings reminding of rain, he connects
the abstract with the figurative and translates the tropical landscape’s atmosphere of light
colour and intensity into painting.
Rolf Behm deliberately leaves the meaning of his paintings open, allowing the observer the
opportunity to arrive at his own interpretation. Many of his works could be seen as colour-
field compositions or as abstract landscapes, still-lives and sometimes even figures, arousing
in the observer associations with objects. He purposefully strives for his ambivalence
and ambiguity in his paintings, wanting not to confine the observer but rather to set in
movement a process whereby associations are evoked and his imagination is stimulated.