Dirk Skreber, German (1961 - )

Dirk Skreber, (1961- ) b. Lübeck, Germany contemporary artist who lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Dirk Skreber is one of the leading contemporary German artists. For Skreber, natural disasters, car crashes and near-miss train accidents become monumental icons of beauty. His epic paintings lovingly embrace catastrophe, offering a religious awe of their grim expectation. Depicted with high-gloss allusion to media imagery and viewed through the odd angles of a surveillance camera, Dirk Skreber's paintings are sublime mediations of death and isolation, rendered more intimate and appealing through the astringent sheen of consumerism.

German artist Dirk Skreber works in sculpture, installation and painting. Ranging from the abstract to the representational, his work is concerned with the architecture of the hyperreal: highly articulated constructions which reside in suspended space and time. His subject matter draws from the mundane flow of contemporary life: buildings, car crashes and natural disasters are treated with the most clinical formalism. His work offers the detached seduction of the sublime.

Often working in epic scale, Dirk Skreber’s paintings monumentalise the banal. Figurative scenes of lone train carriages and road accidents aren’t tableaux of narrative spectacles, but abstract incidents of incomprehensible beauty and horror. Rendered perfect in their making, their surfaces are impenetrable, exacting and serene; they don’t offer spatial illusion, but vast fields of emptiness.

Dirk Skreber doesn’t strive for photorealism; his work only borrows from the tropes of mechanical reproduction. The soft focus of advertising, aerial views of surveillance photography and image replication of print media are placebos of intimacy. Translated into painting, these devices serve as filters transforming the familiar into the uncanny.

Dirk Skreber uses the paint itself as a language of contradiction. Varying stylistically from seamless gradients to gestural rendering, his paintings don’t offer pictorial illusion, but instead, exploit their own material qualities. Photography captures a single moment in time; Skreber’s paintings are frozen in expectation.

In his more abstract work, Skreber transfers the sublime contemplation of modernism into a more frightening contemporary construct, where personal psychology is replaced by the public realm. Dirk Skreber presents trepidation as a normalised condition of collective consciousness, awe as a symptom of mass-media proliferation, and spirituality as an achievement of design.

Skreber has been exhibited in museum and institutions around the world and is represented in many of the world's major collections.


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