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Four Artists Explore Contemporary Realism at Cologne's 30works

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February 7, 2017
A philosophy graduate interested in critical theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

Exploring contemporary realism, the gallery 30works will present a new generation of contemporary artists who explicitly focus on drawing and paintings as the essence of artistic expression. Titled FourPlay, the exhibition plays with reality, illusions and emotions, implementing a new form of the image truth. The exhibition will feature works by Rainer Augur, Benjamin Burkard, Max Gärtner and David Uessem who all, by incorporating alienation, hybridization or abstract elements, challenge the respective connotation of realism. Each work of art is always about the individual perspective, both on the part of the artist and the audience. Since the true power of the image is based on the emotions it provokes, the artwork penetrates into the deepest core of our limbic system, often acting there for a long period of time. Each of the artists exhibited questions the motivic truth content through alienations and stylizations, reminding us of the suggestive power of images in terms of deception and manipulation.

american contemporary realism includes the work of new york painters that follow a century long realist tradition
David Uessem – Doves and Hawks

Rainer Augur and Benjamin Burkard

The German painter Rainer Augur creates portraits depicting people in very intimate and personal moments. Seemingly submerged in themselves in a poetic way, his subject rarely seek the viewer’s gaze. Projecting the emotions onto these subjects, Augur recreates an empathic play about proximity and the fleetingness of the moment. In addition to his unique portraiture, he also creates cityscapes, freezing the buildings, streets and people in a moment, but also giving them drive and dynamism using a sophisticated light and shadow technique. On the other hand, the artist Benjamin Burkard creates an eclectic fusion of artistic techniques and original motifs, often producing a surrealistic effect. Hybridizing mechanical objects with humans or animals, he creates graceful mergers that question superiority, usefulness, and threat. The artist insists on the symbiosis of all parts and their peaceful co-existence.

there will be american contemporary realist work on view at the museum including painting and other visual arts
Left: Max Gärtner – Iscah Azul / Right: Rainer Augur – Hot Summer

Max Gartner and David Uessem

The German-Spanish artist Max Gärtner makes stunning paper cut outs infused with strong graphic design elements. His penetrating animal portraits blur the boundaries between the nature and natural beings, entering the areas of the metaphysical where the separation of subjective and objective reality seems to be extinguished. His works reveal a complex inner life that is characterized by the tumult between the dream and reality, appearance and true being. The German painter and illustrator David Uessem is best known for his large-scale photorealistic portraits and figurative paintings. His pictorial world oscillates between photo- and hyperrealism, opening up a tension field of contrasting techniques and motifs and divergent styles. Highly life-like and approachable, his meticulously detailed paintings look like high-resolution photographs.

american realist painting work from a century found a home in the museum and a variety of books
Benjamin Burkard – Mahr

The Contemporary Realism Exhibition at 30works

Rainer Augur, Benjamin Burkard, Max Gärtner and David Uessem impressively demonstrate the way the artistically created image can touch us. They tend to show that only in the representation of subjects and real existing things, the parameters of our time – the worries, fears, hopes and dreams of our society – can be read and reflected. The exhibition FourPlay will be on view at 30works in Cologne from February 11th until March 4th, 2017. The sneak preview will be organized on Saturday, February 11th, 2017, from 12am to 8pm.

Featured image: Rainer Augur – Hot Summer (detail). All images courtesy of 30works.