Knight Webb Gallery, London is currently showing their first solo exhibition of the work of Berlin based Artist Juliane Hundertmark, Last Song. ‘Last Song’ refers to the rapid disappearance of tradition and folklore in a world being consumed by technology and existentialism.
Hundertmark’s Scenes superimpose the future with a rich history, reoccurring themes are reminiscent of German folk tales and forest mythology . The paintings are tactile and dynamic possessing an immediately tangible rare and tragic beauty. She deftly juxtaposes macabre characters from ancient fables and cabaret with family portraits, everyday scenes and endearing animal spirits. Her characters are staged at dinner parties, in pairs or in groups. Turbulent and mischievous, their disorderly gestures pull the viewer into animated and singular conversations.
Through Hundertmark’s work one is drawn into layers of differing dimensions, not only by her sensitive and energetic build up of paint, vintage photos and collage but also subject matter. Entering the Gallery is like walking into a strange party, there are glimpses of ghosts, imaginary animal spirits, characters half human and the other worldly lingering over conventional compositions, the ordinary collides with the extraordinary. Hundertmark’s paintings have a sense of disorientation from conformity, they are a reflection of absurdity tainted with the dark humour of emotional survival, life in the midst of transformation.
Most of the paintings in the exhibition are large scale and dynamic, there are a few smaller paper works which resemble hallucinatory characters from Expressionist and Visionary dreams which she hauntingly brings to life. Hundertmark’s highly individual pieces are loaded with genuine pathos and the spirit of her subject matter, the work also gives a unique view of her exposed interior. Where her internal collides with the external, a visceral alchemy resides resulting in higher resonance and a fascinating body of work.
In Juliane’s own words, ” My art is my life, my life is a party, and the party is crowded with strange animals.”
“The paintings I saw by Juliane Hundertmark were all rather mysterious and even disturbing in places, such as the collaged eyes in one and lips in another, yet also with beautifully painted sections such as the detailed clothing of one figure and the mere black outline of another. That enigmatic “otherness” and open-ended quality combined with different painting styles, some realism and some minimal painterly effects, is very exciting and makes the works fresh and innovative. A unique style unlike any other painters working today”. Barbara Bloemink, Curator Guggenheim Museum
Words by Lisa Azarmi Photo: Rufus Knight-Webb
‘ Last Song ‘ – Juliane Hundertmark – 8th October to 14th November. Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm
The Knight Webb Gallery 54 Atlantic Road, London SW9 8PZ