Daniel Spanke

Glass is a liquid.
In physical terms, glass is a liquid. I owe this insight to Alfred Kaufner. However, the speed of its flow is so slow that it is difficult to perceive. Yet it is the liquidity of glass which determines its properties. It does not possess an ordered crystalline microstructure like, for example, stone or metal. Instead, it consists of an utterly untidy, amorphous stream of molecules. If you were to measure the thickness of an originally perfectly even upright glass pane after many thousands of years, you would find that it had "flown downwards" slightly and had grown thicker at the bottom.
Alfred Kaufner artistically combines this extremely viscous liquid with precisely those materials in which the "flow of the elements", from which everything once originated, has solidified and turned into a solid structure: metal - steel, zinc, lead - and stone - granite, sandstone.

Layers of glass panes - brittle and imperceptibly viscous - are often pressed between layers of the heavy, solid stone. Over infinite periods of time, this glass will pour from its mould. Little by little, it will give.
In his work Kaufner also pursues a second property of glass which is closely related to the above: its reaction to light. Both stone and metal absorb light on their surface and merely reflect a part. Its specific energy is what we perceive as colours. Glass hardly reflects any light at all. Instead, it allows light to flow through, it is transparent. It is deflected on the edges and only a section of the energy spectrum of light quanta reaches the eye at any one time: The sensual quality of this penetrating colour makes it fundamentally different from the reflective colour of opaque surfaces. Anyone who has anything to do with pictures will be well aware of this: A computer screen will make colours shine immeasurably brighter than could be achieved using a printed surface, and with its brilliance a glass painting will appear far more immaterial than a picture painted on canvas. Alfred Kaufneris work is all about such contrasts.

"Painting glass" is his very own invention.
He moistens the glass pane with a suspension of minuscule metal particles in order to manipulate the refractive properties of the glass. This causes it to shine thanks to the crystals of the metal which would normally appear so dull. Both spheres of colour - the one on the surfaces and the one of translucence - are intensified in this "symphysics of matter".

In the best of his works Alfred Kaufner manages, in an entirely simple ( and therefore effective ) way, to offset the flow and immateriality of the glass against the rigidity and mass of the other materials. And it is this ultimate simplicity which makes them appear beautiful. Since time immemorial men has known that simplicity is the seal of all that is true. Hence the aim cannot be the moving into different fields of work but the focus must be on the one, the ultimate piece of work. Alfred Kaufnerís art is still being developed and experimented with in the quest for this perfect simplicity.
This process keeps it vibrant.