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Q&A - Matthias Weischer: Traces to Nowhere
Time Out Hong Kong
German painter Matthias Weischer’s Hong Kong debut exhibition Traces to Nowhere opens at Lehmann Maupin Gallery
A prominent figure of the New Leipzig School, Matthias Weischer was trained as a classical painter and later developed his own eclectic style, merging realism with abstraction. He constantly explores new ways of presenting and perceiving 3D spaces on flat canvases – which are not at all flat when viewed in real life. Smothered in thick layers of oils, his textured paintings play with perspective and space, chaos and harmony, reality and fantasy.
These paintings on show are very small, compared to your previous interior series. Why the change in size?
When I’m painting the big ones I’m immersed in them, quite literally. When you look at it, you have to physically move in front of it, quite similar to the way you look at a real space. I find that interesting. But I like to play around with different formats. With the smaller ones the idea is that you have to go closer and look at the details.
Do these paintings depict real places?
They are inspired by Roman frescoes, because I like how they treated objects in the space. It’s a feeling somewhat similar to the Chinese and Japanese paintings – the trees, the people, the animals put in the space like a theatre stage.
Can you talk about what happens in your studio?
I have a big group of works hanging on the wall at the same time. They are in one room where I can see them all, which is sometimes very hard. Sometimes it’s good to just bring one to the basement or whatever and don’t look at it for a long time. On the other hand, it’s sometimes good to have them side by side, as you may find something that works for the other painting. For example with these two, I found something in the small one, which I tried to transfer to the big one –so they’re happening to each other.
My works really suffer a lot when I’m painting – I cut them up, I sand them down, I apply layers, I expose the paint. I sand them a lot with the sanding machine. Sometimes I use very dry paint to give a different texture.
Certain objects often appear in your paintings, for example tables. For this show, you’ve painted animals – a leopard’s butt, to be precise.
I don’t see the difference between painting a pot and an animal – I’m trying to play off the associations and ideas that they bring… The objects and their relationships are a way for you to figure out the space and dimension. I’m still testing some models and situations.