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Matthias Weischer (b. 1973)
Matthias Weischer (b. 1973)


Matthias Weischer (b. 1973)
signed and dated 'M. Weischer 07' (on the reverse)
oil, charcoal, pastel and wax crayon on canvas
43¼ x 67in. (110 x 170.2cm.)
Executed in 2007
Galerie EIGEN+ART, Leipzig.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007.
Schaffhausen, Museum zu Allerheiligen, Matthias Weischer Malerei/Painting, 2007-2008 (illustrated in colour, pp. 56-57). This exhibition later travelled to The Hague, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
Rovereto, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Contemporary Germany. To Paint is to Narrate: Tim Eitel, David Schnell, Matthias Weischer, 2008.

Lot Essay

'I see art history through my own painting. I deliberately look for what I need, for what interests me.'
(M. Weischer, J.-C. Ammann, 'In Conversation with Matthias Weischer', pp. 91-95, Matthias Weischer: Malerei/Painting, exh. cat., Schaffhausen, Mannheim & The Hague, 2007, p. 93).

Mobile is a majestic, large-scale painting by leading member of the Leipzig School, Matthias Weischer. Offering a kaleidoscopic cornucopia of detail, colour and painter's marks, the work plunges the viewer into a fictitious domain filled with artworks and artefacts. In this remarkable composition, Weischer presents the viewer with a stage-like interior space somehow suspended in time. Appropriating images from magazines published before the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, it meditates upon the effects of globalisation and the historic points of intersection between East and West, Capitalism and Communism. Painted in 2007, Mobile offers us a picture, replete with art-littered walls and geometric tiled surfaces, drawing the eye back and forth across the canvas. As we look at the surface, we are led into the fictive space that Weischer has conjured through his use of the patterned walls and floor, occupying this chamber, wandering through it, contemplating the various items of furniture, pictures and sculptures that are on display.

The pictures-within-the-picture in Mobile, probe and reference many of the alleyways of twentieth-century art; Mobile can thus be seen as a microcosm of the New Leipzig School and the historical and artistic influences that created it. Before the Reunification of Germany, Leipzig was in the East and was therefore sheltered from some of the avant garde influences that are visible on the walls of Mobile, which shows what appears to be a vintage collector's room preserved in time, with the patterned wallpaper reminiscent of the 1950s and early 1960s, just before the Berlin Wall was raised. Looking at the details in Mobile, they appear increasingly transient, like a fading memory of that past; the visible grids that punctuate the picture recall the preparatory studies of Old Masters while also emphasising the lack of substantiality of the various elements depicted. Both in terms of its subject matter and the emphasis on the materiality of the richly-worked paint surface, with its additional marks in charcoal and other media, Mobile is clearly a painting about painting, and about seeing: this reveals Weischer's credentials as one of the leading proponents of the New Leipzig School.

Within Mobile, a range of artworks which teeter on the brink of recognition are visible, crowned by the what appears to be a white mobile by Alexander Calder, the work which has lent the picture its name. The selection of artworks on display runs through abstraction, figuration, Minimalism and Op Art. Weischer appears to be examining the nature of art and representation in microcosm, a notion emphasised by the presence of a Bridget Riley, blocking out what is clearly a more figurative work with two figures behind it. The bust on the desk recalls Pablo Picasso's paintings and sculptures of his first wife, the ballerina Olga Khokhlova. Meanwhile, the composition recalls the appearance of a painting by one of the other titans of Modernism, Henri Matisse, whose Red Studio is echoed in the general composition of Mobile. Weischer has often turned to nineteenth-century photographs of artists' studios as well as interior shots from 1950s and 1960s magazines for inspiration, reconstructing those spaces through the filter of his own memory and imagination. They become storage spaces for the intangible memorabilia, fragmented reconstructions of illusory, supposedly three-dimensional zones where familiar objects have been reconfigured so as to become uncanny while also triggering associations of nostalgia.

Like Rauch's pictures, Weischer's Mobile has grown organically, each layer of content being suggested by the previous one, according to spontaneous decisions rather than a guiding, pre-ordained plan. This is clear from the surface, where the layers have been built up upon of each other, from the patterned background and floor in their grid-like forms to the pictures, lamps and sculptures that fill the composition. 'Usually I start with the space; the structure of the space', Weischer has explained. 'I do it the way one would build a house. I often start with the walls, then the interior objects, and finally, the images on the walls. There is definitely a logic, an order' (M. Weischer, J.-C. Ammann, 'In Conversation with Matthias Weischer', pp. 91-95, Matthias Weischer: Malerei/Painting, exh. cat., Schaffhausen, Mannheim & The Hague, 2007, p. 92). In this way, Weischer has gradually constructed this room, with its absorbing illusion of three-dimensionality, and its accumulation of ephemera according to his own inner prompts, lending it a distinctive subjectivity. This is a psychological space, rather than a real room - it is determined by its creator, with occlusions and omissions that recall the flawed processes of memory.

At the heart of Mobile lies a dialogue with art, artistic precedents and the process of painting which is shared by several of the members of the New Leipzig School, and in particular by Weischer and Neo Rauch. Intriguingly, their shared conerns are the results of personal journeys which in some ways were diametrically opposed: for Rauch, who had been brought up before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Reunification of Germany, it was the sudden exposure to the West and to a wider art world that precipitated the development of what has become his hallmark style. By contrast, Weischer was raised in West Germany but moved to the art school in Leipzig. The two artists share an intense dialogue with both the history and the process of painting, which each explores in a highly distinctive way. This is clear in Mobile, where pictures, sculptures and other artefacts litter the space that Weischer has conjured through his perspectival tiles and grids. Weischer has decorated the imaginary space of Mobile with what appears to be the key markers of a modern art historical education; the various schools and heroes ebb and flow across the surface of this picture have provided the shifting foundations of Weischer's artistic progress. They are the legacies he has had to confront; here, he has incorporated them into the fabric of the zone in which he has found his own, highly personalised artistic solution to the contemporary challenges of figurative painting.

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