Spotted some art from the top deck of a slow moving 55 bus that was weaving us through the building work of Hanover Square (LondonW1) earlier this week, a glimpse of some rather expensive paintings through the big windows of a upmarket gallery that demanded more attention. Made a point of going back the next day (on the way to have another look at the We Could Not Agree show in that Cavendish Square car park) to see who and what it was. Riding around on buses can be good, see all kinds of things, No Nose potatoes on top of bus stops, naked people painting giant red abstracts and the occasional interesting art show that demands more investigation. The good looking show turned out to be a solo show from German painter Jonas Burgert, a solo show called Stuck Hirn Blind, apparently his first solo show in London since his 2006 Saatchi Gallery show.
‘STÜCK HIRN BLIND’ (Poison Against Time) is to be found at the Blain|Southern gallery and features some rather “monumental” paintings “illustrating the meaning of existence through apocalyptic scenes with unearthly creatures, amazons, skeletons, animals”, as well as some rather beautifully coloured bronze sculptures. The colour is the thing that drags you in (passing it on a bus in the dark while the gallery was in full flow and the lightning dramatic helped), it didn’t disappoint in the cold light of a wet Wednesday afternoon, the rich colour is the initial thing, the powerful detail is what really demands attention though, there’s a lot to discover in that electric colour and intense texture. Would it be blasphemous to compare the epic feel to something that might be seen on the pages of 2000AD? Probably, almost certainly? The work certainly is monumental, the scape powerful, the smaller pieces intense, the bronze is beautiful, maybe it is about the texture? And then there’s the survival that’s coming through the colour and the texture, the technicolour wastelands, a wretched dystopia splashed with trademark fluorescent colours that draw you in to the canvas, vivid, creatures at play? Wrought with anguish? Alive? Powerful… Certainly worth getting off the 55 bus a stop earlier for… (SW)
“Burgert’s paintings present a world in which time is suspended, once removed from our perception of the every-day. In this paradigm – an environment which is in constant flux – human beings are depicted as unique, contorted creatures both familiar and fantastical. Often naked, sometimes splashed with the artist’s trademark fluorescent colours – a melange of acid yellows, electric blues, purples, pinks and reds – each appears to be engaged in some form of quest, the purpose of which is not immediately apparent to the viewer or, it seems, to themselves. They appear as dream-like figures, frozen in a moment of time – on the cusp of a revelation or point of awakening”.
According to Burgert, humanity’s desire to find meaning in existence beyond physicality creates an enormous need for an overarching narrative that invests a purpose: “In our mind, we create existences as heroes, gods or clowns. They lead unbearably loud, malicious, cynical, witty and passionate lives, in wonderfully strange or terrible places. In my art, I merely try to paint the scene of this ongoing process of debate and negotiation, with all its peculiarities.”
Jonas Burgert – Stuck Hirn Blind
Until 22 November 2014
Hanover Square, London