Ingmar Alge is one of the most important Austrian artists of his generation. Precise observations of social realities and their contradictions are at the center of his artistic research. With a keen sense for the sociological, the artist explores society’s rejects and internal emptiness. He sheds light on the magical dimensions of loneliness and melancholy, focusing their existential forms and thus working within the tradition of Romantic painting. Although his paintings are based on photographs, he changes them by adding countless, finely glazed layers, or by intensifying colors or exaggerating the composition. As a result, it is not really reality that is visible, but instead, our imaginations are stimulated.
The paintings of Ingmar Alge are permeated by the leitmotif of nomadic transit. From 2002 onwards, his single-family homes – firmly anchored on their plots of land – increasingly give way to pictorial motifs that tell of an uncertain arrival at a place that is to a greater or lesser degree distant. In the pictures we see these journeys coupled with an assortment of different hopes, culminating in scenes of arrival in which the travelers give the impression that they have not yet arrived in an inner sense. This moment of having arrived without yet being truly present defies the objective flow of time.
The swimming pools and beaches offer the prospect of a beautiful, carefree life, while the landing strips and waiting rooms offer personal freedom. Like the images of single-family homes, they are symbols of private hopes and dreams. Looked at in this way, the nomadic transit picture motifs could be seen as a consistent extension of the metaphor expressed in the houses. They are unlike the house pictures, however, in that we frequently see people who appear to have reached the end of their journey — although in some cases they are simply standing in an empty parking lot on the edge of town.
Occasionally, the figures in the pictures are turned away from us — looking, like us, into the depths of the picture, into the depths of falling night. Because we cannot see the facial expressions of the figures in the pictures their inner emotions are hidden from us, giving an additional dimension to the mystery of the magical moments of sunset, nightfall, or moonlight and taking away a little of the weight and materiality of the world. Darkness envelops these people and creates a diffuse state of indefinability, creating a degree of separation from reality.
Excerpts from: Markus Stegmann: Arriving without Arriving – Nomadic Transit in the Paintings of Ingmar Alge. In: Ingmar Alge, ed. by Markus Stegmann, Ostfildern 2013, p. 164 – 178.