Sven Drühl, S.D.N.N.J.M., Laquer on canvas, 180 x 130 cm, 2012
The paintings depict architecture and landscapes. The functions of the motifs, as well as their geographical location are barely identifiable. Upon closer inspection, the strict separation of the different segments is revealed on the paintings' surface. Minor elevations rise out of the smooth surface, so thin that they hardly conceal the underlying texture of the canvas. Landscape becomes architecture and architecture becomes landscape.
Sven Drühl uses found photographical images for his subject matter. He also uses resources from art history, such as from the paintings of Romanticism and Realism or quotations from Russian Constructivist architecture, Bauhaus or even more contemporary constructions. It is never about the complete adaptation, but rather about an excerpt that is both chosen and exposed by the artist himself and remains merely subject matter for the purpose of observation.
The painterly depth, the breadth of the romantic landscape, and the documental property of architectural images are all removed through the cropping of the image. Drühl's paintings appear cold, deserted and without narration. What is left, are stereotypes; motifs that simply abide banality. The subject matter gains its strength through its abstraction, even the landscapes, and this is especially due to the technique used.
To begin with, Sven Drühl draws the outlines of the image with silicone. The open lines and surfaces are then filled with oil or lacquer paints. The autonomous areas are brought together within the composition, but at the same time they ultimately remain separated through the incompatibility of the materials. The high-gloss lacquer, an industrial material, often encounters the pastose paint application of the oil paint, a material that connotes technical expertise, due to its traditional artistic reception.
Drühl confronts the question of originality and ingenuity in painting primarily by cropping his annexed motif, causing the 'handwriting' of the artist of the original work to become unrecognisable. The authorship of the original is referenced in Drühl's encoded painting titles, which are made up of monograms. All traces of his own authorship are blurred through his schematic pictorial language.
These traces remain visible with his use of materials and the analytical dissection of the subject matter. Without directly entering into the continuous discourse on the essence of painting and its unavoidable end, Sven Drühl manages to create a new aesthetic evaluation of image experiences while treading the fine line between image reproduction and creation.
Peer Golo Willi
OPENING | Thursday, December 13th, 2012 | 7 pm - 9 pm
The artist will be present.
Sven Drühl in conversation with Christoph Tannert, Director, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
Friday, January 11th, 2013 | 7:30 pm