Die Formen der Gefäße

Exhibiton at Galerie Michael Haas

The large format drawings by Dennis Scholl are full of details: Human figures in surreal worlds are absurdly depicted, most of whom have a reference to art history or 1950s Film Noir.

The image is frequently interfused with symbols of Christian iconography. His drawing style is so accurate and the individual sections are so vivid and realistic that these random visual worlds are even more striking. They elude every unambiguous interpretation and remain a mystery. They play with the viewer’s fantasy, referring to dreams and the depths of the unconscious.

Viewers of Dennis Scholl’s art enter an enigmatic, multilayered world. In this universe created by the artist, the onlooker meets characters that are both strange and funny, gets insights into their quarrels and romances and becomes participant or voyeur. They will never fully comprehend what they see, there is always a moment of confusion, a feeling that they have only scratched the surface of the story being told. Scholl was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg under Franz Erhard Walter and Andreas Slominski. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, at a time when many young artists turned to painting, and consequently colour, Scholl devoted himself to monochromatic pencil drawings. By consistently avoiding mainstream taste, the young art student quickly attracted the attention of collectors and curators. In his blackand-white works, Scholl shows himself to be a master-builder of narration, carefully assembling its fragments into collages. Faces, bodies, plants, and other organic elements, structures, and materials all create a cohesive whole.

The focus in Scholl’s drawings is always placed on the human figure. The protagonists of his works are sometimes references to literary or historical characters, but they are usually fictional. Since his early successes, which brought him to the Busan Biennale in South Korea in 2010 as well as several group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Hamburg, Scholl’s art has been constantly evolving. The world in which the characters are presented, move, meet, fight, and love, changes from drawing to drawing, each time becoming more complex.

Over the years, the drawings’ formats have grown larger, until its protagonists became life-sized. In 2015, the artist carefully introduced colour into his work, moving from red chalk to pastels to crayons, giving it an entirely new dimension. While his pencil drawings almost appear as black-and-white photographs of oil paintings, the works in crayon show a more graphic quality. However, after nearly 15 years for Scholl, being consistent means taking the next step and transitioning to canvas, so since 2017 he has also been using oil paints. So far, Scholl’s works have been presented all over the world, being featured in numerous group shows as well as solo exhibitions in New York, Brussels, Malmö, and London. His drawings are also part of private collections in Switzerland, North America, and Germany.

Die Formen der Gefäße | Dennis Scholl