The brushstroke of Nature or The Betrayed Surface

Fantasiewesen mit braunen Augen einem geflochtenen Zopf. Es sind ebenfalls ein Haus, ein Regenbogen, eine Kröte und blutartige Flüssigkeit zu sehen.

Vanessa Conte, Dominik Halmer, Tobias Hantmann, Shila Khatami, Coline Krausbauer, Elke Nebel, Anne Neukamp

»Art does not wilt. When the painter paints, petals aren’t shed, the leaves don’t wither, the evening sky with the setting sun does not lose its vibrancy. In this way there is a little bit of rebellion against life in every composition, because in life — who knows why — everything must decay, fade and be extinguished«. Hans-Joachim Müller

The exhibition presents seven young artists — most of whom graduated from the Düsseldorf Academy — whose work focuses upon the themes of nature, landscape and the cosmos. Using a variety of surfaces for their paintings, painted film and sculpture, they question, challenge and extend the function and characteristics of painting whilst engaging in the long-standing debate surrounding landscape motifs in art. With works oscillating between graphic depiction and fiction, representation and abstraction, the artists have created a new and individual pictoriality reaching beyond the received notion of what constitutes landscape and nature.

Vanessa Conte (b. 1977 Tarrytown, NY, in Düsseldorf since 2004) uses metaphor to engage with themes such as solitude, wilderness and death. A graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, Vanessa Conte is working on a scientific fiction for KIT, a story of life told from the perspective of a mollusc. Using coloured chalk on long rolls of paper she creates dense formations that move between Surrealism and the craft of the Old Masters.

The large-format paintings by Dominik Halmer (b. 1978 in Munich, studied under Prof. Albert Oehlen) are rooted in systems of ordering and at the same time revel in shrill compositions of the here and now. Via the combination of contrasting, opalescent elements, Halmer is able to construct personalised models of the universe that challenge the viewer to engage in a form of metaphorical perception. His works focus on the fundamental question of why pictures are made.

Tobias Hantmann’s (b. 1976 in Kempten, studied under Prof. Baselitz and Prof. Dibbets) delicate, large-format carpet pictures strive to communicate the vulnerability and the ephemerality of pictorial representation. As is the case with his drawings in ink on leaves, Hantmann’s forms in velour are also concerned with the aspect of spiritual engagement when dealing with visual stimulants.

Shila Khatami (b. 1976 in Saarbrücken, studied under Prof. Kasseböhmer and Prof. Federle) creates abstract, painterly worlds by using the properties of different canvases that conjure up a multitude of associations in their frivolously decorative array of colours. She has realised her first 3-dimensional piece for KIT produced in conjunction with the other artists: she will redefine the view of the works in the exhibition space with a 20-metre long and 2.2 metre high object.

Coline Krausbauer (b. 1979 in Krefeld, studied under Prof. Doig) uses oils and egg tempera to paint scenes depicting nature eating its way into municipal architecture. In this way the artist creates collages that exist on the divide between figuration and abstraction, conjuring up unruly and at the same time familiar forms with swampy and clear tones on canvas, paper and parchment.

Elke Nebel (b. 1975 in Kleve, studied under Prof. Immendorff) leads us off in to the vast expanses of the universe with her film »Die Fährte« [The Track] made from 10,000 individual pictures. The painted film was born of the yearning to extend the painting from the canvas so that it »may never end«. Furthermore Elke Nebel will combine paintings, film and the narrative form for the KIT show in a 3-dimensional piece entitled »Gelée Royal«.

In Anne Neukamp’s works (b. 1976 in Düsseldorf, studied under Prof. Federle in Düsseldorf and Prof. Adamski in Dresden) landscape motifs and abstract geometrical forms are superimposed in such a way so as to create a mesh of layers. Mountains, lakes and clouds scenes seem to want to conceal themselves behind triangles and circles and point — transformed in a playful manner — to further possibilities for alternative interpretation.

Coline Krausbauer, Ohne Titel, 2006, Öl auf Leinwand, 50 x 65 cm
Dominik Halmer, Sigmar Gymnopédie (Verortung), 2006, Acryl, Öl, Tusche, Lack auf Nessel, 230 x 290 cm
Vanessa Conte, Die Geschichte des Lebens erzählt von einer Molluskel, 2007, Triptychon (Detail), Pastell auf Papier, 114 x 326 cm