Alexander Forbes
Alexander Forbes' take on Berlin beyond the hype

Alexander Forbes' Berlin Art Brief

Archive for the ‘Studio Visit’ Category

Studio Chat: Wolf Hamm on Summers in Finland and Searching Out Humanity With Paint

Wolf Hamm’s paintings are not particularly fashionable. They’re loud in color, cartoonishly figurative in form, and poetic in concept. But, such questions of contemporary trend don’t seem to phase the 38 year old who shows with Dusseldorf’s Beck & Eggeling. He does his best sketching on copper plates after all. Of paramount importance, however are more elemental and existential subjects: the family, the struggle between nature and urbanity, and finding the human within technology to name a few.

Most recently, Hamm has put these questions forth in a series of eight monumental acrylic on acrylic pane paintings — his preferred mode of expression — that take up the seasons as a means of partitioning human life into four segments. Having recently completed the spring section of the series, Hamm says that he’s still exploring what the second half of his eight year long project might look like but that, as a totality, the work should serve as an allegory of human societal development as much as it does an individualistic narrative.

For the first in a recurring series of studio visits, Alexander Forbes sat down with Hamm to discuss the productive limitations of painting from front to back, the visual DNA he picked up from summers in Finland, and the dangers of taking one’s knowledge for granted. (more…)

Action Painting with Objects

“I was never cool. Even when I was young I was relatively uncool. But that’s how it was,” says Thomas Rentmeister as we sit in his cavernous, sun-drenched Weißensee studio, his two assistants sanding away on a work for his upcoming exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Bonn (Oct. 20 – Feb. 5). Rentmeister’s matter-of-fact attitude permeates his life and work. If you like it, great. If you don’t, well, he still does.

Despite being one of Berlin’s most prominent artists of his generation, Rentmeister gives the scene a wide berth, sometimes going months without attending openings. While others moan about Berlin’s death, he’s happy: “I like that it’s over. Berlin is still a big city but it’s a little bit more normal now. I never really liked the hype in the 90s where everyone tried to come here and get established as whatever.” It’s like fashion, he says. There’s always going to be a new exhibition concept; there’s always going to be a newer, cooler city.