Dystopian art at Blain|Southern by Jonas Burgert | Art Review

jonas burgert

First published at Westminster News Online

The representation of a dystopian society is usually considered a brave attempt. Nevertheless, even as an art form, writers and painters always stick with portraying the diseased humanity in a grey background, using cold and numb palette to describe it or paint it. But the German painter Jonas Burgert breaks this tradition and proves it being boring and wrong. His current exhibition STÜCK HIRN BLIND at Blain|Southern gallery, London indeed is daring and risky; including both paintings and sculptures.

The majestically oversized prints are crowded with wretched unearthly creatures, amazons, skeletons, animals and sometimes even Jonas’ face. The three-dimensional twisted characters wear masks and costumes, it is rarely clear if they are alive or dead. Despite their inexplicable postures and the dark and gloomy colours they are painted in, the creatures in Jonas Burgert’s canvases do not scare at all. The colours used for the background are bright, sometimes even fluorescent; always in great contrast with the plot of the pictures. The exhibition appears as a depiction of the remains of a futuristic war.

The accompanying sculptures seem like dragged from the surrounding canvases. Two of them are male bronze figures both dressed smartly in suits. The first one is utterly expressionless, positioned standing with a branch of wood wrapped around its skull. The second is painfully bloated. The rest of the sculptures are oversized human hands, all beautifully painted, which appear as they are reaching to grab something.

The exhibition appears as a depiction of the remains of a futuristic war. There is a distinctive connection between all of the pieces. There is this repeating narrative of a dystopian culture of living. Elements like a broken television, furniture, a violin, they are all blurred out in the background. The viewer’s attention is purposely brought to the ill characters of Burgert’s society.

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