The Minimalist Exuberance of Thomas von Palubitzki – Fine Art Globe | Candle Made Easy

Thomas von Palubitzki in front of his artwork, (Courtesy: Agora Gallery).

German artist Thomas von Palubitzki creates minimalist compositions with maximum visual impact. With the everyday bottle cap as his muse, he translates ubiquity and versatility into essential forms that populate his artworks. Von Palubitzki works in various media and looks for soft tones and distilled forms as the basis of his creativity. Adhering to the ideas of minimalism, the artist constructs compositions that appear mass-produced without formal imagery. Hovering somewhere between a wall relief and a painting, his signature flat works add visual allure to the viewer. Self-taught, von Palubitzki began drawing intensively in his youth and ended up in the world of fashion illustration. This area of ​​interest quickly expanded into graphic design and photography as he attempted to define his style and means of expression.

Thomas von Palubitzki, Multicolor, 2021, bottle caps in 231 different resin varnishes. Paint & emulsion paint on canvas, 79 in. x 67 in. (Courtesy: Agora Gallery).

How did you find yourself in art – or how did art find you?

There was nothing to look for – it was already there. I have always been creative and have drawn a lot since I was a child. In elementary school, we children should occasionally bring toys and guess who owns which toy. Instead of He-Man figures and toy cars, I brought design objects and figures from the 19th century. I probably wanted to express my creativity and interest in art. For me, creating art was something of a basic need, an urge. First, I started drawing intensively in my youth and taught myself fashion illustration. Then I worked as a graphic designer for a while and also took photos. I’ve experimented with a variety of materials. Always looking for my style and my means of expression. At some point I discovered the bottle cap and immediately knew: “This is it!” From then on I focused all my creativity on this little thing that has now brought me all the way to New York!

They create minimalist paintings populated with an everyday material: metal bottle caps. What was the trigger for this discovery?

I was looking for something new, independent and with a high recognition value. Techniques with which I could develop my visual language. I think the bottle cap helped me with that, I was finally inspired when I found a slightly rusted bottle cap with two portraits on it. From then on there was no turning back.

Thomas von Palubitzki, Unfinished Work No. February 2021. Bottle caps & acrylic on canvas, 59in x 47in. (Courtesy: Agora Gallery).

Her compositions show a wonderful exploration of space, through serial repetition or a bottomless expanse. What artistic movements or methods did you seek to develop your style?

I recognized early on the possibilities offered by the small bottle cap. I wanted to implement as many ideas as possible quickly and wanted my art to be recognizable without having to sign the work on the front. I am inspired by art that uses simple means to identify the artist. Some fine examples are Yves Klein’s deep blue, Keith Haring’s stick figures, or Günter Ücker’s nails (Ücker is a German artist and member of the ZERO movement, best known for his signature use of nails, leading to tactile, sculptural paintings are arranged).

The placement of bottle caps in your compositions will vary. What determines their arrangement?

My daily mood and the idea that’s loudest in my head that day. I find that the best things happen unplanned and I can create effects I didn’t expect, like an impromptu party! I’m changing my approach to developing my art. Minimalism can quickly become boring. And yet I think I would come up with something great if I placed a single black bottle cap in the center of a large canvas.

Thomas von Palubitzki, bottle cap & acrylic on canvas. 23.5″ x 19.5″. (Courtesy: Agora Gallery).

Not only do bottle caps appear on the surface of your paintings, you also use them as a texture building tool – how did that idea come about?

The fundamental question for me has always been how I can artistically integrate the bottle cap into my work and the visual arts. No sooner has an idea been implemented than the next ten come knocking. So many ideas have been captured in my sketchbooks, but it’s just a small part of what’s floating around in my head.

The titles of your artworks are as concise as their appearance. Do you develop the title before or after the play is finished?

As a rule, the work is first created and then titled. However, sometimes I have ideas in mind for two works where I want to make big canvases. In that case, I would title them in advance. For example, to create a diptych with skin color and fake blood, the titles “Big Skin” and “Big Blood” already exist.

Where do you source all your bottle caps from? Do you save the ones you have from glass bottles?

Just by collecting used bottle caps I would never be able to accumulate the necessary amount that I need. I mainly work with brand new closures that I buy from southern German beverage companies. You probably still think that TVP (Thomas von Palubitzki) is a private brewery! For reliefs or works with many colors, I also work with used caps that I order on the Internet.

Conceptual pop artist Ed Ruscha explained in an interview that he enjoys the belief that “Disorientation is one of the best things about making art.” How does this statement resonate with you?

TVP: I like the idea very much. Disorientation has a lot of freedom. Seemingly unlimited possibilities to penetrate into the depths of space. A void without limits to create something new. A feeling of floating. It is great!

What message do you want your work to convey?

Perhaps it is true to say that it does not take many resources to have a significant effect. Less is sometimes more.

Finally, how do you think your work fits in with the theme of Agora’s group show? Summer Solstice: Luminescence?

I think it goes very well with it. The seasons are a continuum of light and dark. I like the idea of ​​change. Don’t stand still and keep moving, but everything in a controlled rhythm. Serial repetition is like a light wave. Textures, light and shadow in black, white and bright colors become symbiotic.

Heather Zises

Heather Zises is a media professional with 20 years of public relations and marketing experience. She is an accomplished editor and writer specializing in digital content development and social media strategy. Her multi-award winning book 50 Contemporary Women Artists (Schiffer 2018) is available in leading art institutions and university libraries. Heather is Director of Communications at The Magnusson Group, where she leads digital marketing and social media campaigns for property sales and online auctions. She is also a founding member of the Ninth Street Collective, where she advises artists on professional development and runs educational workshops.

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