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Room with a View:  Lothar Goetz

Art in a Covid Climate April 2020

The Joy of Colour

Lothar Goetz is best known for his dancing polychromatic patterns in the language of geometric abstraction crossing the boundaries between 2D and 3D often on an epic scale, such as the 2019 mural enveloping the exterior of the Towner Museum in Eastbourne.  His investigation of space, colour and form include influences ranging from Bauhaus designs to Baroque architecture.  From intimate drawings to site-specific commissions for public spaces, his vivid colours transform our perception of space underlining his fascination with the intersection between social, historical and architectural structures. 

Goetz completed an MA at the Royal College of Art after studying in Germany at Aachen, Düsseldorf and Wuppertal.  He currently lives and works in London and is Associate Professor at the University of Sunderland.  He is represented by DOMOBAAL in London and Petra Rinck Gallery in Düsseldorf and is one of the six artists included in the Colourspace show I was curating to open in May 2020 at Mucciaccia Gallery in Rome, which has now been postponed.

For many of us this is a time of reflection.  What helps you stay positive in isolation?

We have a nice supportive neighbourhood and a beautiful park at the end of our road where I spend most of my exercise time talking to the local ducks and goose. Cooking dinners and watching films together with my partner. Working on A4 drawings - for many years I have done drawings which are all imagined retreats for people, houses etc. They do offer a kind of escape from reality and seem quite appropriate at the moment. Reflection doesn’t really work for me in this situation as I tend to worry too much.

Where are you spending your days?

Most time at home, inside or in our small garden, walking in nearby Wanstead Park or walking to my studio in Stratford, drawing and painting.


What have you rediscovered at home?

Watching the birds in the garden and having conversations with the flowers

What do you think the world will be like after COVID 19? 

Not sure but somehow I do not expect it to be radically different. COVID 19 could of course have a profound impact on the wider economy. I very much hope we are not moving to an even more digital focused communication. Great revival of the Pub would be wishful if we can leave social distancing behind us. I do actually try to avoid thinking about it too much. Hopefully a few positive things like revived community spirit or refocus of values will come out of it.

How do you think it will impact the art world?

There will probably be a further digital push or probably the other way around after we are all completely zoomed out. I really don’t know but I just hope that most artists, galleries and cultural institutions will survive. Probably it will become less global and focus more on activities which are nearby. 


What is your view of on-line commercial exhibitions, art fairs and museums – including the Louvre, Rijksmuseum, The Metropolitan, Tate, even the Vatican Sistine Chapel?

They are all fine and a great attempt to get over this time which is so radically stripped of cultural life but I am very much looking forward to visit physical spaces and art again.


Apart from the group show Colourspace at Mucciaccia Gallery in Rome what other plans this year have now been postponed?

Basically every single project for this year, several public art projects, my solo show at the Holden Gallery in Manchester and art fair participations.


One of the projects you most enjoyed doing?

Difficult to specify as I enjoyed most of them very much. The project in Lincoln was  pretty special as it was quite complex and unusual to respond to a chapel in a historical cathedral.  Last year it was probably the project for Towner in Eastbourne which did stand out due to scale, ambition and impact of the project.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on drawings and small paintings as well preparation for some site- specific projects which will hopefully happen some day.


What was it like where you grew up?

I grew up in a small market town in Bavaria, with not much contemporary art but lots of historical culture and architecture like churches, monasteries, castles or town houses. The school I went and where I did my A levels was a school with a main focus on art, music, drama etc and a very special and inspiring place.


Who within your immediate family had the greatest influence on you?

My parents, my mother probably a bit more than my dad and my Godmother, the sister of my dad.


Which artists have inspired you the most? 

I would say artists from the Modernist Movement / Bauhaus like Oskar Schlemmer or Anni and Josef Albers. For a while expressionists were important, the work of Blinky Palermo but as well architects or musicians like Joan Armatrading or David Bowie.


What would you advise your twenty year old self? 

Be yourself and believe in you.


If you could have lunch with someone you admire who would it be and where would it be?

Lunch with the Queen at Balmoral Castle.


What is your favourite museum or collection? 

I do like many and probably do not have one most favourite but if I think about one in London then I would probably choose the Soane Museum. Otherwise I love the collection of Pallant House in Chichester or the Columba Museum in Cologne.


Where in the world would you live if not here?

In a wooden hut somewhere in the Alps.


If you weren’t an artist what would you do?

For quite some time I couldn’t decide which art form to choose as I was interested in acting, dance, architecture and design. They are of course all art forms as well but if I had not become a visual artist it would have been acting or dancing probably.


What would you describe as your luxury at the moment?

Lunch at home in the garden and sunshine.


What are your top 3 desert island books and music tracks?

Extinction by Thomas Bernhard, Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann and Goodbye To Berlin by Christopher Isherwood

Me Myself I by Joan Armatrading, A Little Respect by Erasure and Hotel California by The Eagles

Thank you Lothar! 

What’s the first thing you will do when it’s all over?

"Go to the pub and talk to every stranger."

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