Till Gerhard - Die Rache der Wirklichkeit
1 September—21 Oktober 2006
Galerie Michael Janssen Cologne
Till Gerhard's painting suggests his own microcosm in which the boundaries between reality and fiction dissolve and the fantastic invades the real world. For the first time, six oil paintings and six drawings by the Hamburg artist Till Gerhard will be presented at the Galerie Michael Janssen.
Gerhard's large paintings tell the story of people who congregate and form a society to experience a specific moment. The visual space the painter creates lies beyond the rational and harmonious worlds, communicating a mysterious, unnerving mood. His figures turn their backs on the viewers, thereby marking the boundary between interior and exterior worlds. In the painting "Falscher Guru" (2006), the presented figures form a semicircle around a covered object in the centre, above which a ghost seems to hover. Gerhard's visual world moves between figuration and abstraction. On closer observation the presented figures appear distorted or unfocussed, underlining how his figurative motifs also have remnants of abstraction within them.
Gerhard's skill lies in his ambiguity. His visual world is mysterious and fantastic, thereby irritating and unsettling his viewers. The writer Tzvetan Todorov defines the fantastic as, "the indecisiveness a person feels through knowing only natural laws and facing an event that has a metaphysical appearance."
For instance the group event in the painting "Avantgarde Backlash" (2006) radiates a subversive threat stemming from apparently metaphysical phenomena. In a seemingly visionistic way, Gerhard paints the metaphysical world invading into reality. His painting reflects the paranoid condition of the world, which although painted in glowing, bright colours, communicates a threatening character and creates its own dynamism from which onlookers are unable to escape.
The artist often uses motifs from the world of pop, as is apparent in the painting "Die andere Seite" (2006), which clearly refers to the legendary cover of the Beatles album Abbey Road. Gerhard plays with the viewer's power of association in a targeted way, deliberately unsettling him with informal elements that overlap the original identity. It remains uncertain whether the ghostly figures are really pop icons or perhaps just the shadow of broken illusions.
Till Gerhard, Die Rache der Wirklichkeit, Installation view, 2006, Michael Janssen, Cologne