The title Cartoon Paintings refers to a body of works that appropriate an original satirical cartoon from the series How to look at looking by the American artist Ad Reinhardt made in the late 1950s. The cartoon mocks the common reception of Abstract Expressionism, with a besuited visitor pointing to a painting and asking ‘What does this represent?’. The painting startles him with the retort ‘What do you represent?’.
Brüggemann pastes multiple inkjet prints of the cartoon onto white canvases or mirrors before adding small hand applied brushstrokes in black oil paint and ink in patterns that recall digital patination.
The works operate as a reflection on our contemporary internet culture of ‘ctrl + copy + paste‘ a phenomenon inconceivable when the cartoon was first published. The means of reproducing images have developed from laborious manual application and screenprinting to instant digital impression, while our relationship with information has undergone a wholesale transformation from precious resource to overabundant material. Though attitudes and technologies have changed, Brüggemann reminds us that Reinhardt’s question about how we understand perception itself, however, remains as potent as ever.