A crowd of cacophonous figures swarm, pose and collapse in Jonas Burgert’s monumental Suchtplus, 2011, a visually complex and multi-layered tumult of jostling form. The painting was included in the artist’s 2013 solo exhibition Schutt und Futter at Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover. Burgert’s improbable colours and characters are brilliantly luminous: a pink cow, periwinkle fabric that flows like water, brilliant green robes, electric yellow poles whose juncture tents a dangling knot of magenta men. Compositionally engulfing, Suchtplus is a riveting spectacle and like a stage, the painting encourages its theatrical beings and monsters to perform. The visceral qualities of the painting owe much to Burgert’s fascination with psychology and the ways in which a person’s interior self must reckon with the external world. ‘My interest,’ he said, ‘is directed principally toward the phenomenon of the human being, the problematic of his self-definition. The human being doesn’t know what a human being is. We do not have any standard map; we have to redetermine our coordinates again and again. In this self-reflection, we are permanently searching. For we are not simply instinctive beings. The ensuing uncertainty leads to a need to embed ourselves. We disguise ourselves, subordinate ourselves to a culture, a ceremony, a rite, a fashion, a religion. I don’t know how many thousands of gods human beings have invented in order to discover themselves therein. Unlike animals, human beings argue with their existence, their definition. I am interested in this phenomenon’ (J. Burgert quoted in H. Dietz, ‘Rubble and Fodder’, https://www.jonasburgert.de/2016/02/17/heinrich-dietz-rubble-and-fodder/#more-271).