Sven Kroner, Kyrill, 2007, 180 x 200 cm, oil on canvas
The exhibition 'Le peintre de la vie moderne' (The painter of modern life) will be shown by Galerie Jochen Hempel on the occasion of the Leipzig spring gallery tour held at the Baumwollspinnerei, the site of a former cotton spinning mill. Originally conceived in 2005 for Museum de Paviljoens in Almere, Netherlands, the Leipzig exhibition this year presents approximately 50 paintings by Sven Kroner, Sophia Schama, Yesim Akdeniz Graf, Stefan Kürten, Ulf Puder, Ina Bierstedt, Peter Stoffel, Arjan van Helmond, Tjebbe Beekman and Angelina Gualdoni.
The title of the exhibition refers to Charles Baudelaire's essay 'The painter of modern life' (1863), which not only addresses the role of the artist in modernity, but also formulates a sociological aesthetic oscillating between traditional forms of expression and the expectations of a new social way of life.
Hung in a salon-style arrangement in very narrow, high rows, the overall effect of the works evokes the academic atmosphere of the opulently covered walls of the Salon de Paris in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The formally historic pictorial arrangement thus forms a stark contrast to the contemporary subject of the exhibition, which addresses the complex aspects of modern-day life. Obscure and full of suppressed desires, the dismal urban high-rise buildings and idyllic terraced houses of suburbia satirise, in their fragile cheerfulness, the dream of a brave new world towards dystopia.
At the same time, the paintings document both the inspiration of phenomena from the realm of modern media, such as manipulated photographs, computer and satellite images, and formal aesthetic references to figures like David Lynch or Ulrich Seidl, thus forcing the recipient time and again to refocus their view on the objects shown.