Bernhard Martin

Diktatur der Hormone
June 30 – August 31, 2012

On Friday, June 29, Galerie Thomas Schulte will open “Diktatur der Hormone”, an exhibition presenting the latest works by Bernhard Martin.

Bernhard Martin’s third solo exhibition at the Galerie Thomas Schulte is dedicated to the continuously growing series “Diktatur der Hormone”, or “Dictatorship of the Hormones”, that has previously been shown at London’s Union Gallery on two occasions. The exhibition will present around ten new works from the series, whose central theme revolves around how the longing for love and the hopelessness thereof become the motive for all action. Martin continually talks of his works’ protagonist as “the mindhungry traveler”; the restless vagabond with endless possibilities. His works deal with beauty, with the juxtaposition of the unrelated, of ambition, role-play, longing and lust, of self-abandonment and the thirst for adventure, withdrawing from the pressure to adapt, from uninhibited devotion, shame and disgrace.

Martin’s new works stimulate the viewer’s imagination with their puzzling, almost spherical disposition. The viewer must continue to spin the thread of association and lose himself in the maelstrom of disorder and seduction. Within Martin’s fanatical scenarios, motives collide that evoke images from novels, everyday life observations, crime-films and thrillers. The artist does not aim to focus solely on the pure embodiment of these subversive, beautiful objects, divulged in loss, but rather on the psychology that hides behind them. Thus the work “Den alten Himmel lüften/Rimini Heat” for example, shows a champagne bucket filled with ice and a bottle, whose reflection reveals the exchanging of a message or telephone number. Another work, “Undurchdringliche Gebiete”, can be hung in two different directions, making two separate stories visible. On one hand the painting depicts the rescuing of someone falling down stairs. If the work is hung the other way around, a dramatic chase-scene becomes apparent.

The disparate contents, drawn from a variation of sources, find correspondence through Martin’s choice of several artistic techniques. The different styles of painting adopt a textual meaning. While the artist used to overload his earlier works with pictorial narratives, he now uses the unique approach of applying thin pastel tones to the raw canvas, bathing the works in a wondrous ambience. On first glance, his works are meant to appear beautiful, but with a closer look the subversive nutrient medium of his encrypted pictorial landscape becomes evident. 

Bernhard Martin (born 1966 in Hannover) studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Kassel. Numerous national and international institutions have mounted solo exhibitions of his works, including the Städtische Galerie, Wolfsburg (2008/09), the Arario Museum, Seoul (2006), the MAMCO in Geneva (2002), the PS1 MOMA, New York (2001, the Museum Fridericianum, Kassel (1993). Martin also has numerous works in public collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, the Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Geneva, and the Sammlung Deutsche Bank. In 2008 he was awarded with the „Junge Stadt sieht Junge Kunst“ art price of the city of Wolfsburg. The artist lives and works in London.