New German art - continued

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Nicole Wermers

German art now - Nicole Wermers

Born in 1971, Nicole Wermers' artistic practice encompasses collage, sculpture and an amalgamation of each of these disciplines into what she terms 'three-dimensional collage'.

Similarly to Claudia Wieser (previous page), Wermers reflects on the history of modernism by envisaging its potential impact on functional everyday objects.

Typical of this interest is Wermers' series of upright ashtrays (above), which vacillate between utilitarian function and delicate sculptural intent. In other 'collages', shaped items of furniture are systematically nested and interlocked in order to echo the formal qualities of geometric abstraction.

New German art - Nicole Wermers
images © Nicole Wermers

In more recent works, Wermers has focused on sculptural steel hoops that reference the anti-theft alarm gates found at store exits (left), thus providing the tantalising possibility of alternative designs for these overlooked, ubiquitous devices.

 

Tjorg Douglas Beer

German artists - Tjorg Douglas Beer

Having exhibited since 2001 this Hamburg/New York based artist is no newcomer to the German art scene, but over the last couple of years interest in his work has risen steadily.

The combination of media in his paintings and sculpture is matched by a profusion of narrative strands, many approaching far more polemical territory - politics; race; religion - than his decorative, faux-naive style would immediately suggest.

This is reinforced by the curious texts that often appear in Douglas Beer's work: written backwards, they indicate an earnest attempt to mirror reality, albeit in fantastical, Alice's looking glass form.

New art from Germany - Tjorg Douglas Beer
images © Tjorg Douglas Beer
 

Julian Göthe

Julian Göthe
images © Julian Gthe

A series of recent sculptures by multidisciplinary artist Julian Göthe resemble more or less familiar objects: chess pieces; Japanese toy robots; perfume bottles or even, in passing, sculptural precedents such as Jacob Epstein's Rock Drill.

Despite such visual familiarities, however, the works remain elusive, their presence a disconcerting fusion of spiky ornamentation and glossy black monumentality.

Context is ostensibly provided by the detailed drawings that usually accompany their installation, but even these produce, rather than assuage uncertainty by casting his sculptures as enormous idols from a mysterious religion; silent protagonists enmeshed in bizarre storylines.

The space between the recognisable and the obscure is one that Göthe characteristically fills, lacing his work with cryptically sinuous personal allusion.

Given the theatricality of many of his pieces, it's no surprise to learn that he has also worked as a set-designer, his ability to atmospherically alter space put to increasingly dramatic effect.

 

Kerstin Brätsch

German contemporary art now: Kerstin Braetsch

Young German artist Kerstin Brätsch moves as fluidly between individual and collective practice as she does between mediums, creating ventures, partnerships and objects that not only provide various platforms for her artistic production, but constitute a key facet its concerns.

Her sculptures, for example, can serve as distribution centres for 'zines and photocopied publications, (left) while her large-scale paintings - in themselves highly accomplished works (below) - double as backdrops for performance and staged actions.

In 2007, Brätsch founded DAS INSTITUT together with fellow German artist Adele Röder. Predicating itself as a kind of trading company, DAS INSTITUT creates products such as posters, prints, silkscreened fabrics and stickers, with the marketing, branding and commercial aspects of its operation seen as integral to artistic function.

With her decentred and highly flexible approach to art production, Brätsch is one of a new generation of artists infiltrating social and cultural structures formerly seen as outside the remit of fine art, widening relationships between mediums, the world, and other practitioners.

New German painting
images © Kerstin Brätsch
 
 

Alexandra Hopf

contemporary German art: Alexandra Hopf

Alexandra Hopf works in a variety of disciplines including painting, collage, installation and the unusual medium of painting on glass.

Much of her art has a dream-like, intangible quality that seems to particularly reflect her interest in psychoanalysis, one of several concerns that Hopf explores in her practice.

Animal-human hybrids emerge from shadow, their appearance, though startling, curiously in tune with the logic of the unconscious.

In other works, shafts of light pierce the gloom, partially revealing half-hidden motifs that often seem drawn from modernist geometrical structure.

new contemporary art from Germany - Alexandra Hopf
images © Alexandra Hopf

Perhaps inevitably, however, the prevailing tone in her two-dimensional works is of late 19th century Symbolism, a trait that's particularly noticeable in the pastel whorls of cloud and bug-eyed beasties that are more reminiscent of certain works by Odilon Redon than even, perhaps, Hopf herself has realised.

 

Volker Hueller

Volker Hueller, contemporary German painting

Born in 1976, Hueller's trajectory to success has been rapid.

Spotted while still a student at the Hamburg Academy of Fine Arts and invited to participate in various group shows, Hueller was considered a fast-emerging talent even before graduating in 2008.

Several major solo shows later, and his international reputation is well and truly established.

It's not hard to see why. Hueller's highly assured, multi-layered painting encompasses both semi- and pure abstraction. The fantastical imaginings of his more figurative works appear to flow directly from the unconscious, authentic outpourings reminiscent of the inspired creativity of the outsider artist.

His abstract works - which to our mind, are among his best - combine shades of richly subtle colour and collage in beautifully wrought composition.

new German painters: Volker Hueller
images © Volker Hueller
 

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