As emblems of human existence, André Butzer’s iconic characters represent the recurring extremes of history.
The childlike Friedens-Siemens is vision itself, beholding the past and future with eyes wide open, as if to witness the industrial ruin and envision a utopian peaceful existence alike.
The homeless Wanderer roams the earth. Longing for a place of his own, he is both witness and perpetrator of man-made devastation and horror. As a later descendant of Friedrich Hölderlin’s fateful Hyperion, he could be an alter ego or even a self-portrait of the artist — and then again, not.
On the brink of this world and the beyond, the figure of the Woman resides in a tense state of vulnerable powerlessness and rigorous capability. Modest and benevolent, she could even be an icon of the Virgin Mary, re-uniting what is present and what is absent: Imprints of death and traces of the living.
You can see that “exceptionally well”, says Butzer, “in portraits, in portrait painting, that it moves towards the portrayed. You have to say that. It’s, I believe, always been like that. Ancient human technique. Painting portraits and embodiment. And the closeness to the people being portrayed, that the image moves toward them.”
When Friedens-Siemens, the Wanderer, and the Woman appear together, figures and colors combine to form a large animated trait, a motif that encompasses the entire image, creating spatiality and, at the same time, being a pure planar ornament. Butzer takes back the representational aspect in relation to the decorative character of the group of figures. He grants all appearances on the densely and tightly woven surface the same pictorial values.
His colors reach far beyond the figures. Instead of mere colorfulness, he brings the image to a coherent wholeness or coloristic totality. Every boundary is equally a crossing. Each color he places is not isolated but continuously related to the whole of the colored plane. Each new painting realizes the unity of these opposites and contrasts. In its potentiality, the elementary relational being of color reveals itself as the planar-ornamental origin of all appearance.
Butzer’s fascinating fusion of early European Expressionism with ready-made American pop culture, the conceptual recurrence and apparent seriality of his figures as well as his insistence on the bare human dignity are a testament to his courageous and continuous enquiry into societal contradictions and social non-conformity.
Jonathan Meese (*1970 in Tokyo; he lives and works in Berlin) is known for his extensive body of work, which includes paintings, installations, performances and sculptures. In all genres, he has developed an independent and unique vocabulary that gives his work diversity, visual energy and quality. Combining painting, sculpture, performance and happening, Meese creates dynamic, energetic scenes that blur the boundaries between art, theatre, and politics. Influenced for example by Richard Wagner’s Parsifal epos, Meese sometimes portrays himself as a larger-than-life Parsifal figure.
His works range from large-scale installations and performances to drawings and sculptures, which often feature elements of collage and an array of symbolic figures, as well as texts proclaiming Meese’s very own philosophy – which intends to abolish systems of power, instead announcing the dictatorship of art. He employs a unique visual language, fusing diverse motifs, symbols and texts to create a unique, chaotic and vibrant universe. Meese’s works tackle issues such as power, authority and the human condition, while his playful, non-conformist approach serves to subvert and challenge the norms of society.
Maíllo (b. 1985) is an artist from Spain
Understanding the pictorial practice as an engine of reflective and analytical thought in combination with writing and drawing, Maíllo uses a technique similar to that of collage in his canvases, where different figurative and abstract elements are related to each other over a white or subtly vaporous background.
Based on the intersection between the different relationships between the contemporary life and the political, cultural and intimate aspects of it, in Maíllo’s works we find a strong presence of black lines made with oil markers that cross and condense the different compositional elements as a diagram or conceptual map, lines that translate and respond to the physiological reactions of the artist himself trying to address the complexity and pace of the contemporary world.
By means of an artistic process that is born from the frantic compulsion to draw non-stop to understand the present, Maíllo reworks and reinterprets images extracted from contemporary culture (cartoons, comics, video games or video clips), generating in turn a constant residue of ink on paper which is subsequently refined on a nightstand where, by means of tracing acting like a palimpsest, the complex definitive compositions of his works are completed.
The artist final act in front of the canvas overlaps different techniques from drippings and glazes, to baroque oil or acrylic grisailles, with superimposed spots of solid color varying from fluorescent to iridescent, previously digitally studied on his iPad, that try to achieve the feeling of virtual light color in works of diverse finishes and different bodies of work so retinally stimulating.
Matías Manuel Sánchez Martin
Matías Sánchez (b. 1997 in Tübingen, lives and works in Sevilla) is an extraordinary artist with an unusual Vita. Growing up as a child in his father’s studio with oil paint and canvas, he decided at the age of 13 that he wanted to become an artist. Since that time he has never tried anything else and never done anything else. Its academy was the museums, churches and collections of Andalusia and its professors were the masters of past centuries. Matías Sánchez was self-taught from the start and not despite this, but precisely because of this, he developed his own, direct and concise visual language. The colors are placed next to each other impasto, the figure is literally modeled out of the oil paint, his portraits display a fine humor and a cutting irony about the role of the artist. As a truly profound expert on the art history of painting, his images are full of references, respect and critical admiration in the long history of painting.
For the exhibition at Filsers he portrayed the two French painters Chaim Soutine and Maurice Utrillo.