How hot is a painting?

This question can be of great significance when viewing radical, concrete or monochrome paintings, yet is focusing more on abstract painting than on the mere presentation of original material.

The notion of measuring a painting’s temperature does not necessarily have to mean that there is a temperature control symbolically created for the eager viewer. Thomas Mükisch’s plates examine temperature in the material sense, to which a plate can be exposed. To this effect, he uses special chalks which start to melt when the surface temperature reaches a certain heat. These “Thermomelt crayons“ are otherwise used in blast furnace technology to mark certain temperature conditions in the smelting furnaces. Likewise, the “solstik crayons”, produced by Thomas Mükisch himself, are “sensitive to heat”.

Thomas Mükisch uses this feature to show the process of temperature on a plate coated with the abrasive material, silicon carbide, which he exposes to sun rays and, with this, the rise of temperature caused by them. On top of this, he applies the chalk, in calm sweeping motions, which becomes fluid when it meets the warmed parts of the plate.

The script of the chalk and the calculated physics of the warming of a certain part of the plate result in an almost alchemistic connection, which the painted material not only passes over to two physical conditions – solid and liquid – but also inscribes the way it is processed, as if it were a sort of photographic plate.

Bernd Künzig, Temperierte Stimmung (Excerpt), 2010