Sebastian Herzau, born in Schönebeck in 1980, studied painting at Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle and lives and works in Magdeburg.
His series "The great Below" shows portraits of young people who still have most of life ahead of them. In the delicate tones of his very reduced color palette, as if through a curtain of mist, as if through a veil of water, the figures look down on the viewer. The great below. The great, the magnificent behind. The sitters are not named further. Thus, this brief indication is also sufficient to stimulate the viewer to think about it, perhaps even to experience a déjà vu and to supposedly recognize someone. Herzau draws his portraits from brief encounters and fleeting acquaintances, and is thus unable to solve even the riddle of the person who soon becomes completely unknown to him. He cautiously ventures an interpretation of the individual aura of his models and generates portraits with a veristic statement. There is a lot of free space, a lot of thinking space for painter and viewer at the same time. Gestural strokes with palette knife or brush handle intensify the obscuration of the thin transparent veil of paint lying over the face, which seems to filter the information about the sitter like a membrane. Herzau deliberately refrains from using interiors or attributes so as not to give out or interpret too many clues about the essence behind the painted portrait, in order to preserve for himself and the recipient the mystery in the depth of the depiction. Herzau is a contemporary painter who knows exactly what his predecessors, the portraitists from the Renaissance to the Romanticism, Impressionism and Photorealism of the 1960s have achieved. And it can certainly be said that Herzau continues the line of these artistic achievements and he removes his portrayals from the flood of daily images of the mass of people into a separate realm. He withdraws them from the media hype and the megapixels of the virtual world. At the same time, he convinces with classic craftsmanship. Pure painting. The portrayed people look thoughtfully and absorbedly out of an atmospheric environment or soon look melancholically into themselves. Snapshots of young people from the here and now. Herzau shows the loneliness and individuality in the age of networking and communication. He looks back in the history of painting. A post-Romantic approach in the 21st century. His paintings achieve a contemplative effect, some especially because of their size. One can linger in front of the works and come to rest. One can look at them for a long time, yet they do not tire. They are not fashionable, they are timeless. Herzau subtly probes the interaction between image and viewer. It is precisely in the oversized formats that he begins where the Photorealists left off. They were able to overtake the technology of photography at that time. Today, digital photography can also produce larger-than-life formats with enormous volumes of data in unbelievable brilliance and accuracy, but it and also the virtual world cannot do many things: it cannot play with the irregularities of the color bodies, it cannot work gesturally with the carrier material of the pigments, it will never appear in the giant format as intuitively and show physical presence as classical painting does - as Sebastian Herzau is able to do in a magnificent way in his works of oil paint and canvas.
Barbara Leicht M.A., art historian
Born in Hamburg in 1980, Constantin Schroeder has felt a great affinity for painting since childhood. Nevertheless, the now full-time painter studied theology and philosophy and art history and not painting. Long resisted the profession put in the blood, it broke out of him at some point and he confessed to wanting to be an artist. Today he lives and works in Berlin.
It is astonishing what pictorial worlds Constantin Schroeder develops. Internalizing the present with all its facets, he lets the gloom of the world flow through his brush. He also mostly uses a very scarce color palette. Colorism is not his thing. He concentrates on creating pictorial spaces that do justice to his imagination and those of the viewer. Mostly in large format, the scenes with their peculiar narrative style embrace the recipient. There is truly much for the viewer to see and process. Schroeder's works are not just somehow well painted or peculiar. In an almost surrealistic manner, the artist generates stories, scraps of which haunt his mind and shows abysses, end-time moods, almost seer-like. He filters the daily flood of news through his intuitive imagination and ciphers self-experience. Schroeder is a skillful compositor and does not want to get rid of the ghosts he called, he brings them into his pictorial spaces and triggers astonishment. He creates impressions that are difficult for the viewer to decipher. Art does not always have to show only "the bright side of life", quite often, and this is a tall order for it, it shows the flip side of our striving for harmony. Schroeder reaches deep into the archives of the human psyche. In his works, young heroes reveal interpersonal conundrums. The question of one's own existence and position and the freedom of the ego is conveyed through an enigmatic iconography. In several works the white blank space is striking, which soon has the inherent light character of medieval gold ground painting. The empty space that the artist deliberately sets, the picture that he deliberately leaves unfinished in order to open up possibilities for the viewer that are not otherwise offered to him in this way.
The viewer must perform a transfer and fill the gaps with his own power of imagination; visual space is equal to mental space. The lighting shows in part extremely overdriven brightness. Soon exposing and setting the scenarios in a cool atmosphere with glaring light, Schroeder shows violence, oppressive interpersonal situations and to a certain extent the loss of individuality.
Through his virtuoso painting, Schroeder is able to make us see differently - if we want to.
Barbara Leicht M.A., art historian
Constantin Schroeder's figurative paintings are impressive, moving images with a profound sense of depth. His pictorial protagonists are fascinating characters that never let us go. Internalizing the present with all its complexities, he uses a very reduced color palette. Mostly executed in large formats, the scenes captivate the viewer with their characteristic narratives. Schroeder reaches deep into the archive of the human psyche. His works reveal an enigmatic iconography, which includes young heroes posing interpersonal mysteries. The artist, who lives and works in Berlin and studied theology, philosophy, and art history, also illuminates the darker sides of life in an extraordinary, hyper-realistic style. These are powerful images that captivate us with their enigmatic pictorial content. Schroeder leaves some parts of the image white, which allows the viewer to develop his or her own interpretation and understanding of the image through open associations.
To the artist page