Florian Pelka

Dream and Drama

Works Bio
Florian Pelka in his studio

Each of Florian Pelka’s paintings tells its own, tricky story – and not all of them are as easily understood as Sleeping Beauty’s Dreams. As described in the Brother Grimm’s fairy tale, the young lady wakes up, the glass coffin shatters, the blood red rose hedge opens up to make way for the young man who is to wake her up with a kiss. Yet, where is the young man? And what does the gnome with a pointed cap want? What about the shady figures with their wide eyes and long ears? And, most of all: why is the poison-green frog the central character, although he plays only a minor role in this story? Well, the scene is, as the title instructs us, a dream of the young lady, and dreams follow their own logic.

Florian Pelka in his studio
Florian Pelka in his studio

The figures and objects in Florian Pelka’s paintings are, by themselves or in their combination, often irrational and fantastic. The principal consternation, however, is caused by the colouring. Colours dominate the scenery. They are bold, shrill, psychedelic; they seem to be inspired by colour TV or neon signs. A fiery red and a fresh blue are contrasted by a vivid green, a sunburnt yellow. These colours demonstrate their own value, not only as palpable paint material on the canvas; they have detached themselves from physical things and are objects on their own. They snake, as three-dimensional ribbons, through the pictorial space, wind as living creatures between objects and figures and question all realism.

Colour, which – in contrast to subjects or styles – is „eternal“ in a way, supports the aspect of the timelessness which is already given by Pelka’s fabulous, mythical issues: the artist names his works Venus, Leda, Sleeping Beauty, or Night and Fame. At the same time, the paintings are completely contemporary, rooted in today’s world, and here, too, paint plays a major role, with its special colouring and the way it is handled: the expressive gesture is always shaped by the moment of its origin. It is this combination of timelessness and complete presence that characterises the paintings. One can sense the artist’s endeavour to contrast the hectic present time, the ephemeral moment with something that remains. And the recognition that this cannot be achieved, precisely because everything must pass away, gives the works a certain melancholy.

For further information please visit the artist’s homepage: Florian Pelka.




1971born in Berlin
1990-91West Africa
1991-97Studies of philosophy and literature at the Free University Berlin (First State Examination)
1993-94DAAD grant for the University of Paris VIII, philosophy, aesthetics (Licence)
1994-2001Studies of the visual arts at the University of Arts Berlin (First State Examination), class of Georg Baselitz; Master student
1999-2001Assistent in art history, University of Arts Berlin
2001-05Lecturer for visual communication, Mediadesign Hochschule Berlin
2006-07Lecturer for painting at the Berlin Technical Art Academy
2011Head of a painting class at Schloss Rotenfels for the Culture Academy, Foundation Baden-Württemberg

Solo exhibitions (selection)

2020“Drift”, Galerie Greulich, Frankfurt
2019“Open Source”, Galerie Tammen, Berlin
2018“Figures”, Galerie Lachenmann, Constance
2017“Worlds of Wonder”, Galerie Lachenmann, Constance
2016„Die Tiere sind unruhig“, Kunstverein Kaponier, Vechta
2015“Raubzug“, Städtische Galerie and Kunstverein Wesseling, Cologne
2014“LoveMeOrHateMe”, Galerie Tammen, Berlin
“Klippo”, Kunstverein Schloss Altranft, Freienwalde
2013“Zweifel und Wunder”, Städtische Galerie Wollhalle, Güstrow
„Love Lights“, Galerie Kramer, Bremen
2012„Der Faun des Königs“, Kunsthalle Schloss Seefeld, München
„Geräusche im Garten“, Galerie Tobias Schrade, Ulm
„ist zwîfel herzen nâchgebûr“, Galerie Greulich, Frankfurt
„Tierschichten“ (mit Volker März), Galerie Lake, Oldenburg
2011„Similis – Affe sein“, Galerie Souterrain, Berlin
2010„edel.hilfreich.gut.“, Galerie im Tulla, Mannheim
„Beim Verlassen der Ebene“, Galerie Greulich, Frankfurt
2009“Die Sieben Todsünden“, Tammen Galerie, Berlin
„Schmelz, Schaum und Schande“, Galerie Tobias Schrade, Ulm
„Isometrie und Chaos“, Robert Koch-Institute, Berlin
2008„Florian Pelka“, Galerie Arthea & Lauth, Mannheim
„The Seven Deadly Sins“, Gallery Artbank, Seoul, Korea
„Polymerisation“, Robert-Koch-Institute, Berlin
„Trug und Trophäe“, Kunsthalle am Ammersee, Stegen
„Der Schamane“, Galerie Greulich, Frankfurt
2006„Florian Pelka“, Tammen Galerie, Berlin
„Florian Pelka“, Mainforum, IG Metall headquarters, Frankfurt
„Interferenzen“, Kunstverein Cottbus, Stiftung spi
„Landschaften“ (with Igor Oleinikov), Noack, Mönchengladbach
2004„Colorado“, Galerie Tammen & Busch, Berlin
2002“Junge Positionen zeitgenössischer Malerei” (with Jörg Sticher), Galerie Tammen & Busch, Berlin

Group shows (selection)

2017“Geschlossene Gesellschaft”, Galerie Lake, Oldenburg
2015„animal turn“, Galerie Greulich, Frankfurt
“Sterntaler”, Galerie Lake, Oldenburg
“Format: Quer”, Philip-Johnsonn-Haus, Berlin
“Märchenhaftes”, GEHAG-Foru, Berlin
2014“berlin@oderbruch“, Falkenberg, Schinkelkirche Cöthen
“Stille Nacht”, Kunstverein Schlosskirche Schwetzingen
2013„P’art“, Symposium, Laffert Kuria, Budapest /Dunaharaszti, Ungarn
“Jetzt machen wir hier die Witze”, Museum verwandte Kunst, Köln
2012“Renaissance der Gesichter”, Philipp-Johnson-Haus, Berlin
2011“Color & Style”, Kunsthalle M3, Mengerzeile, Berlin
“Shadows of the Bright”, Galerie berlinartprojects, Berlin
2010“Tierparade”, Galerie Lake, Oldenburg
“Fundstücke”, Galerie Arthea & Lauth, Mannheim
2009“Tatort Kunst_reloaded”, Ausstellungsmanufaktur Hertzer, Berlin
“Schauseiten der Materie”, Galerien Tammen und Gaulin, Berlin
2008“Mensch-Raum-Landschaft”, Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin
2007“Accrochage”, Tammen Galerie, Berlin
2006“Sammeln und Entdecken”, Galerie Blashofer, Karlsruhe
2005“Berlin meets Teheran”, Tammen Galerie, Berlin
“131”, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
2004“Luxus”, Löwenpalais, Stiftung Starke, Berlin
“all about…berlin 2”, white box, Kultfabrik, München
2003“Zeitgenössisch”, Königliche-Porzellan-Manufaktur, Berlin
2002“Kunstpreis 2002”, Preisträger, Schloss Gifhorn
2000“Schaustelle 5”, Galerie Giesler und Partner, Berlin
1999“Schaustelle 4”, Galerie Michael Schultz, Berlin