Mies van der Rohe inspires realist paintings

Karin Kneffel is a former student of Gerhard Richter. Her paintings look real, yet contain many untruths
Share
Image © Karin Kneffel. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever
Image © Karin Kneffel. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever

In 2009, the German painter Karin Kneffel presented an exhibition at the Kunstmuseen in Krefeld, Germany. It was housed in a pair of modernist villas, Haus Lange and Haus Esters, constructed as homes by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1928 and 1930 and converted into a gallery in the 1960s. Kneffel was intrigued by the buildings and began to paint them. Once a student of Gerhard Richter's, Kneffel's style is a fairly exacting style of realism.

However, Kneffel's depictions in a new series of paintings – currently on show at The Gagosian Madison Avenue - are perhaps less factually reliable than her previous style would have you believe. She switches van der Rohe's interior décor around, adding lamps and chairs designed by the architect, as well as more fusty furnishings perhaps put in place by the building's original occupants; colours are altered; interiors are viewed through misted windows or water droplets.

 

Image © Karin Kneffel. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever
Image © Karin Kneffel. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever

In these mannered pictorial spaces, Kneffel’s superb painting technique moves between materialisation and dematerialisation. On a quadruple—grounded canvas, she applies up to four layers of oil paint with the finest brush.  Like veils, each covers the entire surface. 

Hyperreal painting is nothing new, but this purposeful undermining of fact with seemingly truthful painting is beguiling. “Art is a lie in a certain sense," Kneffel says. "And that is why it can tell the truth to the reality of everyday life without competing with it. The reality of painting is one reality, the reality of everyday life is another.” Experience her vision at The Gagosian until October 20.

 

Image © Karin Kneffel. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever
Image © Karin Kneffel. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever

 

 


You May Also Like


Related





ABOUT PHAIDON

Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
Read more