Matthias Weischer trained from 1995 to the end of 2003 at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in the Eastern German city of Leipzig, where he was influenced by Neo Rauch and met artists like David Schnell. A group of likeminded artists – particularly interested in matters such as the technical quality of painting – soon got together and rapidly made its name as the Neue Leipziger Schule. Artists regarded as members of this group are conspicuous chiefly for the theatrical nature and large size of their canvases. Within a short space of time, the group of young artists had conquered the art market.
1950s and ’60s
Weischer was lauded for his pictures of worn interiors and forgotten studios where time appears to have stood still. Looking like theatre sets crammed with furniture, lamps, carpets and draperies, his interiors always raise the same series of questions: who lived here and who on earth chose the furniture? Are these real homes or imaginary spaces? Weischer draws inspiration for these canvases from illustrations in books of cultural history or interior design magazines of the 1950s and ’60s, but manipulates his source material to remove any clue to exact time or place. These aspects of Weischer’s pictures, which are painted with an exceptional degree of technical virtuosity, stir our collective memory and confront us with fragments of our own past.
In 2007, a scholarship enabled Weischer to work for a year at the Villa Massimo in Rome. This has brought about interesting changes in his work. His latest paintings are much smaller and tend to depict almost unfurnished interiors. His palette is now reminiscent of medieval Italian frescos, with colours like pale blue and pink predominating. His compositions have become increasingly free, intuitive and spontaneous. The previous superabundance of objects has been replaced by a single tree trunk, mat or skull. The starting point is no longer magazine photos, but a theatre that Weischer built for himself in his room in order to try out new and ever-changing compositions. In the space of just a couple of years, Weischer’s artistic development has taken an unexpected turn, with the meticulously planned paintings being replaced by more casually organised pictures and the large, complex compositions turning into small, poetic tableaux.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual German-English publication containing contributions by Rudij Bergmann and Markus Stegmann and an interview with the artist by Jean-Christophe Ammann (Hatje Cantz Verlag, price €24.90)