Drawing is the art of reduction. The targeted abstraction of the visual excesses of reality. At first sight, the work of Dennis Scholl seems to contest such assertions. In his drawings, Scholl confronts the observer with an “unsettling” delight in detail. His collage-like, hyper-real images seem anything but reduced, as one work can bring together objects and people who seem to have nothing in common but the pictorial space itself.For Wanda, Roberte, Alice, Aimée, Marcelle and Justine – the series of large-format drawings that forms the core of the exhibition is a reference to fictional and real protagonists of works of literature and philosophy. “For Wanda” refers to the novella Venus in Furs by L. von Sacher-Masoch. This piece of knowledge is the key that appears to connect the objects collected in the various layers of the picture: the fur coat hangs in the centre of the picture, a wall plate carries the image of the author, and a mobile of dirty grey swans caricatures the traditional image of purity. A pictorial quotation of Perugino with the Marsyas motif, stuck to the wall like a trompe-l’oeil, refers to traditional mythological punishments and to a particular passage in the text. A plait fetish interacts with the riding whips layered over the picture, while the schematic abstract drawing in the background displays various forms of perversion. But the individual elements of the picture can only be combined, like phrases in a sentence, to a meaningful, homogenous story to a certain extent.
Like emblems or icons, they allow the observer to discern a possible meaning beyond the confusion they provoke at first sight. But they reject a complete iconographic solution that would degrade the images to mere illustrations; rather, they draw the observer into a confusing game with wildly varying reference systems and const nothing more than an associative space for the recipient. The works of Scholl are thus narrative without being loquacious. The objects portrayed refer to people and stories, while simultaneously unfolding a wide range of meta- and sub-levels, whose meaning and relationship to each other can ultimately only be found in the artist himself.
Dennis Scholl, born 1980 in Hünfeld, Germany, studied from 2002 to 2006 at the Hamburger Hochschule für bildende Künste. 2010 his works will be exhibited at Busan Biennale, South Korea. Furthermore his work has been included to the group show „Genuine Illusions. Illusion and Reality in Art” at the Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg. His first institutional solo show has been dedicated to him in 2008 by the „Institut für Moderne Kunst, Nürnberg“. In 2009 he has been included to the group show „MAN SON 1969. Vom Schrecken der Situation“, Galerie der Gegenwart Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
Text by Tanja Vonseelen on Schmelzende Teilnehmung. Courtesy Arndt Gallery
Schmelzende Teilnehmung | Dennis Scholl