The paintings by Janes Haid-Schmallenberg oscillate between enchanted landscapes filled with strange figures and forms and a bizarre, grotesque neo-surrealism. They switch between timeless fantasies and the tokens of a very contemporary urban culture. The artist tells stories – but which ones? The night, the dream, the dark and the aggressive appear as well as the bright and happy. It is a lively yarn-spinning, in a sense a cheery version of Hieronymus Bosch.
Through our interpretations we, the observers, are as much involved in the creation of the works as the artist. Even if the inscription in Tennis clearly says, “He is angry and has broken his tennis racket”, so we as viewers can complete these little, enigmatic stories and give them our own meaning. The announcement “No more lies” in Family Affair virtually calls out to fantasize.
In the earlier works, human beings with oversized necks, small heads and slender feet err in enchanted gardens reminiscent of the fantastic worlds of Mannerism. At first glance, stylized plants and trees seem dead, but then they writhe very much alive.
A particularly impressive appearance is Mme Cœur, at the beginning of our presentation. With her heartfelt warmth she forms the counterpart to the top-heavy Monsieur Teste; some time ago the artist called this fictional character by Paul Valéry a reference point. Madame Cœur, in her red robe, is a mighty appearance that carries two elephants – but they alltogether float in the clouds.
The more recent paintings are based on the street culture of the city – similar to the images found by Cy Twombly on the walls of Rome and Michel Basquiat in the streets and subways of New York. The pictures are filled with weird figures and enigmatic signs, the grotesque becomes more cheeky and approaches the evil. The timelessness of the fantastic turns present: the elephant flying across the picture is replaced by a police car with a blue warning light – next to a dinosaur.
Viewers can stroll in the pictures, lose themselves in many details and find their own stories. At the same time, painting itself becomes content. Some of it derives from the process of the work: the brushstrokes, signs and color patches react to each other. We should not be fooled by the bizarre, grotesque forms and the childlike: these pictures have a tendency to the monumental. That’s why the large format is no coincidence. In spite of all the sketchy scribbling, these pictures are not least one thing: great painting.
Please see the artist’s work in our exhibition Figures & Faces, Part 2. And please note: an interview with the artist in Art Verge, the exhibition at Storage Capacité with a short appearance of MC Bomber, and artists with similar work in our portfolio: Joanna Buchowska, Boris Eldagsen, Victoria Pidust and Florian Pelka.
1988 born in Warstein, lives and works in Berlin
|2005-13||Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, with Prof. Siegfried Anzinger|
S = Solo show
|2015||Vivisektion, Volksbank Weinheim Gallery, Collection Baumgartner, Weinheim (S)|
Demerol – The Comeback of the year, with S.Lis und M.Thiel, Argh!, Berlin (S)
Berlin Bozen Connection, Studio Chrom, Bolzano
|2014||Bocca Della Verità, Epicentro-Art, Berlin (S)|
|2013||Fisch und Fröhlich, Galerie Villa Köppe, Berlin (S)|
100 years America, with Christian Korda, Warum Verlag, Berlin (S)
|2012||German Kleinformat, Neter, Mexico City|
German Kleinformat Vol. 3, Raum Pilot Projekt für Kunst e.V., Düsseldorf
Central Horizon, Penny Temporary, Neumünster
New Acquisitions – Art from NRW, Museum Kornelimünster, Aachen
New Kids on the Block, Neu-West-Berlin, Berlin
Show of the Week, Freies Museum, Berlin
|2011||Die Böse Laune der Guten Miene, Essential Existence Gallery, Leipzig|
Ich kann kein Bier mehr sehen, Galerie Grundeinkommen, Berlin
Lupi, with Dejan Spasovski und Johannes Kithil, Jagla Ausstellungsraum, Köln (S)
Bahnhof Anzinger, Galerie Geuer und Breckner, Düsseldorf
|2010||Müssen, Können, Wollen, mit Wanda Koller, Intervall, Köln (E)|
The’ve just started, Oktoberbar, Düsseldorf
And there is always something missing, and that bothers me, Kunstgruppe, Köln
Not necessarily, with D.Spasovski und J. Kithil, Raum Kalk, Köln (E)
For my part, Kunstgruppe, Köln
Extra shift, Kunstverein Oberhausen, Oberhausen
|2009||Special exhibition, Garage Gereonswall, Köln|
Sigi, Lichthof Köln, Köln
|2008||The paper, Projektraum Open, Düsseldorf|
|2007||And there is always something missing, and that bothers me, Werkstatt Graz, Graz|
|2006||On women, with Oliver Kolibabka and Satoshi Kojima, Citadelle, Düsseldorf (E)|
For further information please see the artist’s website: Janes Haid-Schmallenberg