Lutz Friedel


Image: Lutz Friedel, Zeitgleiche. Der Tag nach Aschermittwoch, 2021/22, Oil on canvas, 240 x 170 cm, Courtesy the artist, Photo: Atelier Friedel, Schönholz © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 202

For many years, Lutz Friedel’s paintings were recognisable due to their specific figurative character.

Recently, he has permitted a lavish number of contractions and brushstrokes to interact – triggered by a complex painting process that comes about in phases and over several paintings simultaneously. The motto is liberation through intensification, the in-cluster working that was heralded already in his head clusters, but is surpassed now by the consistency of being totally in the colour and acting purely from it.

Never before, for example, has Friedel thrown himself into such a hellish red/black. Stripped of all representation, there is something uncanny about this pull of colour, but – image upon image – it also gives rise to uplifting moments.

These paintings derive from various currents of image production, essentially from circular forms – as “head” sculptures in wood as well as in painting, for example in the “Funden (Finds)” (after 1987) and “Paradebilder (Parade Paintings)” (1989/90), and later in the cycles “Et in Arcadia ego – a Dance of Death” (from 2009) and “Das nächtliche Atelier (Night-time Studio)” (from 2015). Is it about rioting or damnation? Are they crowds? People parading? Demonstrators? The dead on the battlefields? The throng of heads and figures is dynamised and sucked in as if by an imaginary maw. No God in sight. People’s emotional chaos. A scene as if intoned by Leonard Cohen: “You want it darker. We kill the flame.” Friedel has greatly reduced the depictive function of traditional painting, and only a few skulls and bones are still visible. In his cycle “Zeitgleiche (Isochrone)” (from 2021) he puts his finger on the wounds of our apocalyptic age. Idea and matter exist in a poignant state of balanced equilibrium.

Lutz Friedel was born in Leipzig in 1948; he lives in the Havelland region in Brandenburg. From 1968 to 1970 he studied at the HfBK Dresden, from 1970 to 1973 at the HGB Leipzig. He was a master pupil of Bernhard Heisig at the Akademie der Künste Berlin from 1977 to 1980. In 1984 he moved to Frankfurt am Main, and in 1985 to Berlin-Kreuzberg. In 1990 he began his sculptural work, creating the first head sculptures. From 1992 to 1999 he made several study trips to Italy, spending some time in Pompeii and Sicily. In 2012 he received the Art Prize for Painting from the state of Brandenburg.


With the kind support of the State of Berlin – Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

08.04. – 01.05.2022
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