Tilo Baumgärtel - The Tempest
Leipzig-based and Arno Rink-taught Tilo Baumgärtel presents a mixture of large canvases, as well as charcoal, pastel and ink drawings. ʻDer Sturmʼ (2008) takes pride of place and is a nice example of Baumgärtelʼs talent for creating dark and complex works. We look outwards from the husk of a modernist pavilion – paint peels from raw concrete walls, light from a single bulb illuminates dry grasses and strewn rubbish on the floor. In the corner two figures huddle together, one with a lit cigar pressed to his mouth. At the edge of the room a hooded figure sits with a dog, looking outwards as bolts of lightning strike the horizon.
We witness a scene of urban collapse; disorder seems to rule. Small scenes play out across the picture, but never appear interrelated or dependent. This incoherence unsettles the viewer, destabilising any clear narratives and generating a sense of the uncanny. In ʻDie Nachtwacheʼ (2011) a naked, red-glowing figure perches on top of a tree stump with a conquistador helmet on his head. At his feet, two naked figures appear to either fight or fornicate. Stray animals lurk at the edge of the light, circling the central scene with lit eyes. Works like these recall that of Nigel Cooke, riffing off his ability to disperse focus across the picture plane: multiple scenes exist within the same composition, vying for attention.