New Entries – Sebastian Herzau, Daniel Schaal, Tobias Stutz

The painter Sebastian Herzau from Halle moves in the most traditional genres of painting: portrait, still life and landscape (not represented in this exhibition). However, he treats these genres in a very individual way. In his portraits and still lifes, he makes use of trompe-l’œil painting, which already amazed viewers in the Renaissance and especially in the 17th and 18th centuries. A subtle humour pervades his works, especially in the small still lifes on supposed cardboard. These seemingly casual pictures pick up on the quodlibet of the 18th century – a realistic depiction of disordered documents that seem to go beyond the picture format, which enjoyed great popularity. A further group of works are the blurred portraits, which seem to lie under a layer of ice or a disc covered with ice. Both in the portraits and in the pictures made unrecognizable with painted tape, there is a great distance from the person portrayed and the viewer is referred to the painting itself. In 2019 Herzau was honoured for his outstanding work with the Halle Art Prize.


The Bonn painter Tobias Stutz also uses the trompe-l’œil, but works predominantly with architectural themes. The group of works that we are showing here focuses on architectural details. Sections of buildings take on a life of their own and become independent objects that reach an enormous illusionistic spatial depth. This 3-dimensional effect is additionally supported by the targeted use of colour (red, for example, stands out, blue recedes). The largest picture shows a part of Le Corbusier’s Unités d’Habitation – the living machines – which he planned and built between 1945 and 1967. The architecture or even the design of classical modernism appear again and again in Stutz’s pictures. His virtuoso play with light and shadow and the cut of the canvases, which adapts to the motif, create perfect illusions.


The youngest artist we are introducing here is Daniel Schaal from Berlin, who is still studying at the UdK Berlin. Despite his young age, his work is already considered an insider tip among Berlin collectors, as it is extremely unusual, witty and multi-layered. We are showing two groups of works here: his paintings and the prints. These prints are produced on the largest printing press in Europe and would not be technically feasible outside of Berlin alone. Schaal unfolds cardboard boxes (e.g. a tetrapack) that he has used in everyday life and uses them as printing blocks for his large-format sheets, which spontaneously remind us of X-ray images. In the series that we show here, he arranges the cardboard in such a way that it forms the Christ monogram ΧΡ, also called Chi-Rho or Constantinian Cross. It consists of the two Greek letters Χ and Ρ written one above the other – the first two letters of the Greek word Χριστός Christós. Consumption has thus become a substitute religion, and a profane disposable product that merely serves to package a content becomes itself a carrier of meaning with content.


Exhibition period: Saturday, 13th June – Saturday, 25th July