Imagine lying on a railroad embankment and staying perfectly still, waiting for the steel beast construction of the train to roar past.
Untitled (Train) is an eerie exercise in stillness, a monumental locomotive frozen in a moment of detached anticipation. It's not the actual subject that Dirk Skreber portrays but the haunting quality of it. Savoring the illusion and contradiction of technique, the artist merges collaged elements of foil tape and foam rubber into the painterly surface, creating a tension between the abstract and representational. The dented steel of the train, the impenetrable gradient of the sky, and uncertainty of the dusty ground belie their artificial construction, each generating an austere, intangible quality.
Skreber's train exists more as a concept than an actuality. Magnifying the banal, Skreber triggers feelings of anxiety through a sense of pre-determination. Suspended in time and space, Untitled (Train) occupies an incalculable gulf between charisma and disaster, a reflection of the numbing state of contemporary consciousness whereanything or nothing may occur.
Skreber's reality always appears as a borrowed one, one that is constantly in a state of flux; it can never be fixed as either a simulation or a virtuality, a fantasy world or a realm of memory, a world of objects or a world of ideas and options-though it does circulate in the midst of all these possible modes of reality. This makes Skreber's paintings highly topical and positions them on a continuum that spans from a contemporary, self-reflexive approach to various forms of reality and modes of life to a deep understanding of
the possibilities of painting as a medium.
D. Strauss, Dirk Skreber, exh. cat. Verlag 2002, p. 7.