"1 x 1" (simple multiplication) of colours.
Numbers and colours. Colour range und system of colours in my paintings
was edited in 1997 in Reiff Museum Aachen
with introduction by Peter Gerlach.


Colour and number, a game with colours

Paul Heimbach proposes a game to you.
He proposes the rules and offers the elements, with which a good game can be played.

The most ordinary game with colours we know from painting, that means from art. Normally we are contenting us with the singular results of this game, without further interest for the rules the painter has applied producing a single painting. By experience we recognise the elements without hesitation: These are the ground colours (including black and white). To inform somebody knowledgeably about which nuances of colour have been adapted in this one or that other work of art, or what kind of games of colours are evoking the characteritic impression, not only Reiner Maria Rilke in his letters on the paintings of Paul CÚzanne was exposed to considerable problems of formulation, even we too would encounter limits of our capabilities of proper language use. Speachless we feel at a sudden.

That means: our eyes are disposing about a much highter ability of discrimination for differences and graduations of colours than adjectives are at everybodys disposal in colloquial language.

At that point Paul Heimbach's game is implanted: We can use it for testing our own optical reception, to find out, what all it can or what just it will achieve. Exactly this is what he reckons for us. Insofar the title "1 x 1" is correct not only as a metaphor. Like every other painter he is using a specific pallet, beeing characterised by excluding a large number of nuances in colours. So a limited number of containable nuances of colours remains. Out of this remaining material he is composing his works. Bearly any painter will be able to inform about the consistence of his favourt pallet in detail. He never will be obliged to do so, as ablely he handles a precise use of it thus making it visible in his works for everyone.

Consideration about how to delineate this independently from the single paintings has been leading to classical formulations. The most popular schemes are the colour circle or the colour sphere (by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or Philip Otto Runge) as an optimised sort of an easily rememberable picture representation of their insights, which have been followed by some more in the course of 19th and 20th century. This is true for the artistic theories as well as for physiological theory and theory of physics of colours. The insight into the problem und the trial of an adequate form of representation is much older indeed and did not find its final solution with the colour circle. Triangle, pentagon, hexagon: All are geometrical elementary forms, which have been chosen as formal relations. In the end the easily memorable character as form has been leading to this choise in the medieval as well as in the 16th and 17th century by Giordano Bruno and Robert Fludd. This did not happen by accident or arbitrarily. Here emerges unavoidable a next level of this problem solution, that is to say there character as memorial figures. They have been a substantial part of an older science, which nowadays is no longer know under its changing names: ars memorativa, ars notoriae, ars memoriae or mnemonic. In the 20th century it ensconces itselfs in a different form.

This was known as the art of facilitating the memorizing of certain stuff of remembrance by special means of learning. These special means are - besides others - elementary figures. Figures have been the ones to which a specific content was assigned. Figures of this kind are to be refound in modern art since last century. They have been known under different brands - as Suprematism, as Constructivism etc. All the program of the Bauhaus, Wassily Kandinsky's teaching of the "internal tone" as well as the colour system of Hans Itten made use in representation and argumentation of the technic of Mnemonics. There are good reasons to probe all theory of arts of modern times if they could not be understandable as partial disciplines of Mnemonic. This worthwhile attempt not yet has been tried out. Many aspects of modern art are to be understood as variations of "ars memoriae". The traditionel elements are to be found everywhere in it, mostly two dimensional geometric elements are precedented. Painting is their object of remembrance and within there eminently the effect of interaction of colours and its effect on the beholder. All other kinds of use of picture have been learning from there: Advertisement as well as all desing of products and architectural rooms.

For example Sigmar Polke or Rune Mields for the provocation of their inspiration have used comparable strategies. Their art did not jade as illustration of technics of memorising. It was their starting point, it dominated their technique of composition. Occasionally only its is even the main topic.

To probe and expell all of that this it not the adequate place. The concern of this article is the mathematical variant offered by Paul Heimbach. Sustainabely he has committed himselfs to this topic. Indefaticabely he scrutinised the historical sources. Thereby he discovered some systematical patterns in that works of art composed by him before. That has been leading him to the use of computer, which, by his own, owing some of its components of construction implementations of such elements of memorising. That facilitates the presentation of his decisions, but does not substitute his art, the single works. It will exploid itselfs not only in its plenitude when material and form is adjoint as beeing specific for an original object of art. Insofar the media reproduction only is a substitute, a complementation of his art but not at all its progressiv companion piece. It serves for the divulgation of the knowledge of their existence and his intentions.

By the character of game the "1 x 1" changes to a product of its own flavour, exposing possibilities which could not be expressed in no other of the traditionell techniques used by him.

Peter Gerlach