Real/Sur-Real: New Forms of Surrealism

Our second presentation on the theme „real/sur-real“ shows four painters that are quite different from each other, concerning their styles and subject matters as well as their ages. What holds them together is a search for a reality beyond the visible, physical world. This „extra-terrestial“ is realized in form of visions, dreams and the irrational; it throws a revealing light on our time that the idea of the apocalypse becomes topical, in the works themselves as well as in conversations with the artists.

The tradition of these works leads to classic Surrealism yet also beyond to Constructivism and particularly to Symbolism, notably of the French school, and finally to the Italian Mannerism of the 16th century that mirrored the world in a grostesque and phantastic way.

Joanna Buchowska utilizes the collage technique to show the fragmentary and put together character of a world that loses itself in usettling empty spaces after an apparently catastrophic event. Yet in the end these deserted scenes contain hope, too: the artist transforms the collages into vivid, downright soulful painting.

Yury Kharchenko, who, as a teenager, migrated from Moscow to the Rhineland, addresses his roots: What within myself and my work is Jewish, Russian, German? What gives life solid hold and orientation? The answer he finds in a longing mysticism as well as in the motif of the house that offers protection and security.

Christopher Sage confronts the reasoned art of Constructivism with the irrational; in his works cool, mathematical reflections hit upon surprising, intuitive, even carnivalesque notions. Symbolic for this is the prime number that dominates large parts of the work: it is as clear as it is mysterious.

Janes Schmallenberg creates enchanted landscape scenes that are to cause first and foremost this: the artist wants to grab the beholders, draw them into his works and not let them go again. To accomplish this, he uses motifs that are easily accessible on the one hand and surprising and unsettling on the other.