Jonas Burgert

I have just had a (staged) conversation with Jonas Burgert, the German artist, at Blain Southern at their smart gallery on Hanover Square. It was a pleasure talking to an artist who is intelligent, thoughtful and unpretentious about the sources of his art. Born and brought up in west Berlin, he is the son of a painter who trained at the Berlin Academy just after the second world war, when all the Nazi professors had been fired and an older generation of German expressionists were brought back to teach; he himself attended the Academy just after the fall of the Wall and began to explore forbidden territory in art, which is about depiction, but not realism, creating subject matter with an invented half-narrative, which is suggestive rather than descriptive, as dangerous to practice in the Berlin Academy as it would have been in Britain. He spoke beautifully about exploring the psychological recesses of the visual imagination, the middle ground between painterliness, subject matter and abstraction, inspired as much by the inarticulacy of Egyptian art as by surrealism or expressionism.

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