A series of charcoal/chalk drawings from 2004 are paradigmatic for an understanding of Claudia Betzin's work. Thesebegan with a nude model seen through two overlapping layers of plastic film.

Dim shapes emerge in an image area that appears to be interwoven with an singular movement that is simultaneously spit into various image areas. The shapes are sometimes divided into an upper and lower half by being forced apart in their middle by a sluggish river that elsewhere passes over them as a heavy cloud. The intertwining of superficiality and depth, overlaps and upthrows on the different image planes, of the construction and deconstruction of space turn the picture into a temporally interwoven discontinuum that ensnarls our gaze.
Only after our gaze has penetrated a part of the space, has exposed and examined it layer by layer, gradually changing the apparition into an initial tentative perception of a possible relationship, is it released from the picture's space, thus achieving a certain distance from which a new web of spatial relationships can develop with the other parts of space which then has to be cleared and investigated anew. Nevertheless, as soon as a network starts to stabilise our gaze hits upon a resistance and is lowered or founders on the density of the picture.
Circling around the assumed motif of the picture, our gaze is repeatedly drawn back to itself and its own projections that force themselves between us and the picture and only release our gaze from this temporary fixation after the next blink of an eye before being captured again in the picture.

What develops in this reception of Claudia Betzin's pictures is nothing more than the potential that also leads to their creation. It is not perchance that the artist says that she has to prepare her canvasses, adjusting and adapting them in an initial, intuitive draft that forms the starting point for all later attempts to find, develop or reject the picture. It is not perchance that processes such as painting over, elimination, overlapping, that can be found in all of her works in one way or another, play such a decisive role. Nor are the variations of objective or scenic associations and designated horizons haphazard, whose only meaning is to create a space that is necessary so that we can keep our distance.

The singular interaction between settlement, appearance, reflection and imagination during the creation of the picture correlates to the interaction of appearance, projection, reflection and perception on the level of reception. The most important things take place between the pictures – on the level of production between the individual states of the picture, on the level of reception between the individual phases of picture appropriation. Expression becomes articulation in the space between just like the seen becomes the perceived.

This may hold true for many pictures at first glance, but what makes Claudia Betzin's work so special is that ways of perceiving pictures have turned into production processes for pictures in them by inextricably combining both sides of the picture – its genesis and reception. A strict differentiation between the viewer's standpoint and artist's standpoint is no longer possible. Rather, these two simultaneously assume both standpoints in a salutatory exchange, intertwining the moments of the picture production and picture reception in such a way that that actual picture comes into existence in the space between this double dialogue.

Claudia Betzin succeeds in bringing together presumed contrasts across all borders by giving contrasts space to develop in her paintings. Deliberate breaks, disjunctions and interruptions repeatedly broach the issue of not only densely atmospheric, heavily worked image areas but also the process-like nature of her painting, that is irritatingly physical despite all of its fleetingness.

In the same way that cool and warm colours are often found alongside each other in her works, two separate image areas complement each other as a picture, graphic elements turn into painting and vice versa, space develops in time and time is inscribed in spaces, Claudia Betzin's painting is both carefully balanced and at the same time imponderable, moving between process and stalemate, realism and abstraction, impression and manifestation – an inconclusive dialogue between form and composition where painting occurs.

Karin Stempel

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