Hinterm HorizontHinterm Horizont
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Robert Sturmhoevel

"Hinterm Horizont"

Vernissage on February 7, 6 - 9 pm
Duration of exhibition: February 8 - March 29, 2019

With all the understanding of the diversity of the media in the art, the Willingshäuser have won in the more than twenty years of the scholarship, but they are happy when they have once again a "real painter" as a guest. Robert Sturmhoevel is one of them, lived with his wife and child for three months in the "Hirtenhäuschen" and painted them in the studio of Gerhardt von Reutern's house like "the old masters".

Nonetheless, he is not concerned with mastering a medium and a technique in a virtuoso manner - this is just the technical prerequisite. Rather, he is concerned with specific discoveries, narratives, discussions and statements that make use of these media and techniques. Painting is not an end in itself, which only leads to "beautifully painted pictures". The Berlin Robert Sturmhoevel was immediately fascinated by life in the countryside and the Schwalm landscape. He had never seen such horizons, such light, such colors. But he also did not forget where he came from, neither what his themes are nor in terms of his perception and the special method of his painting. He did not let himself be taken by surprise, but watched and examined what was offered to him. Because beyond Willingshausen, "behind the horizon", as he overruled his exhibition, lurked what one could not see. It had to be told. In other words, painting, which is so convincing and fascinating here, is not the illusion on the surface that it pretends to be.

Anyone who has ever been in his studio, has noticed that it is very clean and tidy there. "I leave my studio like this," he says, "like a worker working in the evening." The room does not look like a den of creativity, but rather like a tidy desktop, a screen surface on which the programs with their tools and files are retrievable. The work wall is like a desk, on which the templates, drawings, photographs, notes are placed around the unfinished pictures and waiting to be able to flow into them. Various brushes and oddly crafted tools explaining that he has developed special forms for the application of paint hang neatly on the wall. A palette of candy colors stands ready to give each image a different, decided color scheme. She dips everything he tells into an idiosyncratic light.

His protagonists are children. They are "at home" in sceneries that are assembled from different set pieces into a picture, constructions so - but not invented, but seen, observed, partly also photographically found or recorded. Locals recognize landscapes and buildings around Willingshausen. But as much as it looks like the kids have something to do there, you can not fathom what. Rather, it is becoming apparent that this is more about moods, about sensitivities - perhaps also about metaphors of behavior and self-definition. Even if the pictures seem to be conclusively and understandably painted at first glance, the second, third and fourth look reveals nothing but inconsistencies and contradictions. Places, objects and people are superimposed on slides. Each slide seems to have its own theme, to be its own image. Last but not least, painting interferes as a painting. Sometimes there are shadows, sometimes not, sometimes outlines are painted flat, sometimes objectively filled. Sometimes there is a fascinating illusion, sometimes the color shows itself "only" as a material. But to paint this divergent way, in its combination and concerted colourfulness, just connects the non-conclusive to a surreal unity.

But what does the viewer do with the interfaces and overlays of the slides? Or with an "empty" face in the picture? He moves between the slides with his eyes and mind, changing the levels, thus filling the various contents and meanings from the picture into his own narratives. Robert Sturmhoevel in this way makes the viewer himself "visually powerful". The working scholarship in Willingshausen is a challenge for all concerned - for the inhabitants of the village, the visitors of the scholarship exhibition as well as for the artists. As history shows in the meantime, that is very productive - exactly what constitutes an artist colony.

(Bernhard Balkenhol)