Alexander König

König’s Paintings
Alexander König’s pictures remain in an unaccustomed, ambivalent state between narration and pure painting. His seemingly idyllic pictorial inventions and the lightness of his motifs from fairytales, mythology, and sagas are imbued with a dark-toned mystical tenor, whose roots lie, on the one hand, in the artist’s explorations of the history of European painting and, on the other hand, in the traditions of the occult and spiritual in art.

Along with Goya and Füssli, Lovis Corinth and the Expressionists from the beginning of the 20th century are the godparents of this oeuvre, in which ethereal female figures empty themselves and children seem to be surrounded by the fog of their own imagination, in which composite creatures between life and appearance emerge and their depictions congeal to a contemporary snapshot of psychological disposition. Ambivalent gestalts between human figures and chimeras populate König’s paintings and encounter the powers of a nightmare world of light and shadow, materialization and disintegration, that unfold their effects in the dark. Woven into painterly formation at the boundary between this world and the beyond, they wage a battle between assertion and volatilization and wrestle for their visionary place in a world of sober inventory-taking, scientific verification, and the belief that everything is material.

Alexander König’s themes and his manner of painting are unusually singular in the contemporary canon. Based on the metaphysical traditions of the early 20th century, he has worked out a specific technique of expressive-gestural painting that enables him to develop, in equal measure, pictorial motifs out of painting and painting out of how he deals with the motifs. From furious painterly happenings, bodies emerge; figures and motifs take on expressive shape, only to immediately become part of an autonomous painting. Situated at the indifferent interface between image and its dissolution, König’s works move in a diffuse emotional state of transformation and raise existential questions about the state of the human.
—Ralf F. Hartmann   /Translated by Mitch Cohen

Dr. Ralf F. Hartmann
is Pro-Rector for Research and Tertiary Education
Development at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig
and Director of the Kunstverein Tiergarten in Berlin

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