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12 Jan 2011

'Jonas Burgert - Lebendversuch' at the Kunsthalle Tuebingen

Jonas Burgert, Tat markiert, 2009
Oil on canvas © 2010 Jonas Burgert

Jonas Burgert - Lebendversuch
Kunsthalle Tuebingen


Exhibition on view until March 6, 2011 Opening Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11AM - 6PM

Andrea Richter
+49 (7071) 9691-15
+49 (7071) 9691-33

Kunsthalle Tuebingen
Philosophenweg 76
72076 Tuebingen

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Jonas Burgert - Lebendversuch

To conduct an “Experimentation in Vivo” [in German, “Lebendversuch”] means to take something into consideration under real-life conditions. There is good reason to regard this, the title of a Jonas Burgert painting, as one of the guiding principles of his creative work. His complex pictorial narratives seem mysterious and charged with myth. Yet their emotional subtexts are communicated immediately. Burgert knows how to condense the traces of the act of painting, often on ultra-large canvases, into forceful, physically perceptible depictions of people. We encounter kings, female warriors, magicians, shamans, businesspeople, or children, sometimes wearing exotic, archaic “costumes,” sometimes in contemporary everyday wear. The figures captivate the viewer while they effortlessly transgress the boundaries of time and place. For it is not the customary cross-references and pictorial quotes that define the character of Burgert’s paintings, but the force of a pictorial language guided by the authentic forms of expression of human life. To showcase the artist and naming the show “Lebendversuch” the Kunsthalle Tübingen is in turn enhancing the exhibition by adding a further semantic aspect. In the midst of his rapid process of development, the forty-one-year-old artist is himself being taken into consideration within the context of institutional solo exhibitions for the very first time in Europe. A representative cross-section of works produced by the artist since 2005 can be seen at the Kunsthalle Tübingen in Germany and subsequently in a varied and reduced configuration in the Kunsthalle Krems in Austria. 38 works from 31 international lenders a lot of them monumental scales are shown in Tübingen. The largest painting measures 4 x 6 meters. It was flown in from Denver exclusively to the venue in Tübingen.

Attending the group exhibition “Geschichtenerzähler” at the Hamburger Kunsthalle in 2005 was Burgert´s first career jump. It was followed by participations at gallery and museum shows worldwide. The Falckenberg Collection, for instance, has presented works of Burgert in Hamburg and the Olbricht Collection in Essen, Berlin, and Krems. The Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan and the Denver Art Museum joined forces to initiate the first presentation of the artist’s work in the United States, which was accompanied by Burgert’s stint as a visiting professor at The Art Institute of Colorado in Denver. The artist already enjoys international recognition, and his works are included in a variety of collections worldwide. Obviously he will go on to achieve even greater things in the future.

The exhibition catalog, edited by Daniel J. Schreiber and Hans-Peter Wipplinger and published by Walther König, features all of the paintings being shown in Tübingen and Krems. Three essays provide insight into Burgert’s oeuvre from a variety of perspectives. Daniel J. Schreiber praises the artist’s pictorial motifs as Pathosformeln, which contribute to the blasting of an aesthetic characterized by postmodernism. Hans-Peter Wipplinger situates his complex pictorial compositions in the tradition of the history of the motifs of world theater. Karin Pernegger describes how the artist charges his paintings with emotional radiance by means of archaizing references to tribal societies. Besides the essential biographical and bibliographical information, the appendix includes an illustrated list of works that offers an almost complete overview of Burgert’s creative work from 2003 to 2010.