A colourful traffic jam of vehicles resembling fridges, portaloos and spacecraft encircles the walls of Berlin’s Sprüth Magers. The colours are so bright and the shapes so inviting — part Wallace and Gromit-like warped 3D, part 20th century avant-garde — you can almost hear the horns honking. Of course, it’s the work of German painter Andreas Schulze.
Schulze emerged in the 80s, often shown with the then prolific German neo-expressionists. But where much of that work has now moved on, Schulze managed to forge a style that was so, him, that it has endured on its own tangent. The painter strikes a balance between high art and homely, hand-madeness, with visible brush strokes, bright, often gaudy colours and cartoonish shapes.
This brightness is offset by a dirtiness as well however – for each smooth edge there’s a lumpy, messy one. There are gleaming, primary coloured surfaces but there are also big blotches of exhaust fumes. Some shapes are satisfyingly perfect, others frustratingly unsuited to sit alongside one another.
It is the frustrating contrasts in this work that make it so recognisable. It is neither one thing or another and in being so it illustrates the commercial modern world, where perfection attempts to cover natural, human flaws. Making a mockery here of modern car design (which is often revered to a point of fetishization) these vehicles refuse to be placed into a satisfying visual camp, designed ridiculously and garishly, pootling along in one fun, clumsy traffic jam.
Stau is open at Sprüth Magers, Berlin until 29 August.