never what it seems

Hermann Reimer

The artist was born in Münster, Westfalia in 1959; and completed his education in painting at UdK in Berlin. Today he has a number of solo exhibitions under his belt and is well represented by a handful of high-end German galleries.

It is not difficult to see why his tireless work ethics has paid off. Paintings and drawings from this gentleman are profound in the way that they toy with our ideas of interior and exterior environments. Persons are either painted like live and kicking actors on the centre stage or at other times they are deliberately bland or disenfranchised like Edward Hoppers sitters. The latter blend in like a piece of the furniture. We find these people like props who surprise along manipulated picture planes and partly camouflaged with patterns from the interior.

On seemingly empty spaces

Oddly you sometimes have this eerie feeling that you are a voyeur to someone’s private sphere of clutter, everyday household articles and furniture. It is as if you’ve just been teleported to their living room at the exact moment when the inhabitant has nipped to the kitchen to fetch a cup of tea. Therefore you feel compelled to quickly scan through the conflicting patterns in wallpaper and carpets. You want to do so either before the person re-enters the room or your teleportation device begins to break down the walls. You also have this sense that the next thing that is going to happen is that you will flee through the cracks and fault lines to another equally transient environment. Outside you encounter people who you don’t know what are doing; and the sky has decided to leave the blue rinse for today and has opted for dyeing itself pink.

—Question is not whether or not we are being taken for a ride. No the question is which one of the rides and in which order.

Figurative art at large comes with certain conventions and rules for its decoding by individual viewers. Reimer exploits that to its full. His art is so arresting precisely because we think and search so desperately for a narrative — to find there is none. At best there are fragments of narrative strands leading us down blind alleys. It is a very deliberate act of taking us all for a ride, giving us some comforts along the way and taking away others. We never see designer show rooms but everyday objects and personal photographs are hanging askew making somewhat biographical references. A lamp receives much attention because its cable is not tucked firmly into the skirting board. Kitsch trinkets blend into their interior the way they all do sooner or later for all of us. That is, to the extent that we begin to navigate round them, even when we have long turned blind to their presence.

There is constant flux in all this where comic book meets science fiction, and where science fiction meets semi-abstraction and surreal dreams not quite unfolding. All the time there is the unnerving and disquieting feelings that the New Leipzig school appears to handle in a similar way.

But the last name of a contemporary art movement doesn’t pigeon-hole Reimer one bit. There is the individual artist, and there are exciting mega trends in German art that he taps into in his own way. In turn, these trends could only have occurred in Germany as a byproduct of the tormented history of that particular nation. It is difficult to explain, though it manifests itself in an acceptance of contrast, and a heightened awareness of ambiguity that goes with the territory of being German.

Most of all it the mindset of never taking anything or anyone for granted.

You can find out more about the artist by visiting his website

All images by courtesy of the artist Hermann Reimer ©, all rights reserved.