Leonhard Hurzlmeier (b. 1983, Starnberg, Germany) has participated in exhibitions domestic and internationally at venues including Lothringer 13, Munich, DE; Munich Re, Munich, DE; Autocenter, Berlin, DE; Skaftell — Center for Visual Art East Iceland, Seydisfjördur, ISL; among others. Hurzlmeier has been the recipient of the Kulturpreis Bayern of the EOn Bayern AG award and the Jubiläums-Stipendien-Stiftung for the Akademie der Bildenden Künste grant. He is in the permanent collection of the Aïshti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon and Munich RE, Munich, DE. In 2018, Hatje Cantz published Neue Frauen, a monograph of the artists’ work. Hurzlmeier lives and works in Munich, Germany.
Misschien is het teken van onze ‘haastigheid’, of een poging om een geometrische beeldentaal uit haar enge pictogram-functie te verlossen, maar alvast een synthese waarin het ‘gevatte beeld’ bijna in een oogwenk zou kunnen begrepen worden al mag enig gepuzzel best de pret verhogen. Ook de kleur is niet onbelangrijk. Nog mooier als ook de compositie van de onderdelen op zichzelf een eenheid vormt.
The artworks go beyond the narrative due to their painterly quality, which succeeds in casting ephemeral, contemporary impressions in more general forms suggestive of past artistic movements, such as Romanesque sculpture, Renaissance portraiture, or Picasso’s painting phases. The fact that the paintings are evocative of synthetic cubist works, such as those by Léger and Herbin, or pictograms and emoticons, is less due to consciously sought-after references to the 1920s or contemporary forms of visual communication, but the result of a lengthy process of form-finding.(Dr. Daniela Stöppel )
The composition is based on complex geometrical considerations, which only allow a very limited repertoire of possibilities. Thus, the composition follows certain pre-specifications, such as recurring circular radii, fixed angles, or proportionally adjusted surface widths. The final shape is the result of a complex painterly process that aims to bring surface proportions, color distributions and surface quality in line with the motif. (ibidem)
This profoundly painterly concern raises the images from their illustrative function to a more general, universal level, which primarily mediates the forms. This is evident in the drawings that excite the vocabulary of abstract forms at the border with figuration. Lines, squares, and circles that become a laughing face (or not) constitute a narrow divide between pure form and concrete figure, between seriousness and comedy, between the universal and the particular. (ibidem)
‘According to Courbet, drawing and sketching is emotional and painting is analytical. It’s the same for me. The moment of inspiration usually comes when I draw in my sketchbook. Once I’ve chosen a motif, I transform it into a graphic-style vector image, but by analog means—with a measuring tape, pencil, and compass. All the component forms are constructed using a strict measuring system. Each isolated element represents a self-contained geometrical shape. The dimensions of the frame determine how far the figure expands into space, and I try to expand them as much as possible. I multiply or divide the basic dimensions depending on the image, which defines the horizontal and vertical lines and the circles. Then I add a diagonal axis, sometimes two, and a perpendicular one, which are symmetrically mirrored, so four diagonals in all. If I want a finger here, a lock of hair there, I need to make it work with the system that underpins the image. It’s a strict, constructivist approach. That’s how it differs from Classical modernity, where figures were broken down in a very spontaneous and free manner, only appearing to be geometric and constructivist. The painting style and expression were more important than a strict approach. It’s precisely this approach that I want to explore the potential of.‘ (Leonhard Hurzlmeier)
Hurzlmeier comes from a creative family. His father, Rudy, is a self-taught artist who works as a newspaper satirist and cartoonist. (An accompanying, tightly curated group show at Rachel Uffner traces some of Hurzlmeier’s influences and includes a bonkers painting of a “gay seagull” made by his dad.) “My father used to work at home,” Hurzlmeier says, “so we were used to this: the father sitting there, doing drawings and comic strips. We worked on sketches he threw away—we colored them, ‘finished’ them. It was an artist’s home.” (Scott Indrisek Magenta)
Prior to the academy, Hurzlmeier had been working on portraits. All figurative impulses were drilled out of him by his new professor, Jerry Zeniuk, who pushed him toward abstraction and color theory—a self-created “geometric grid” that would inform his new paintings. After graduation, Hurzlmeier hit another crossroads. He began showing work in conjunction with his father and his brother, and the informal context loosened him up a bit and allowed him to interject the human figure back into his system of abstraction. The result was closer to Hurzlmeier’s current style: flat and illustrative, with recognizable forms collapsed into blocks of vibrant color. It’s an aesthetic that harkens both to an omnipresent advertising aesthetic and to the populist paintings of someone like Charlie Harper, with conscious influences that include Magritte, Tamara de Lempicka, Max Beckmann, and what Hurzlmeier calls an analog approach to vector graphics.(ibidem)
Alle mooie theorieën nemen niet weg dat het werk van Leonhard Hurzlmeier vooral het van de directe verbazing of herkenning blijft hebben en dat je pas na enkele ogenblikken het beeld in zijn onderdelen gaat ontleden en je daardoor met nog meer genot kunt blijven kijken naar de op het eerste gezicht ‘simpele’ voorstelling. Ik kan mij voorstellen dat kunstenaars zin krijgen om die direktheid en zuinigheid weer op hun manier te gaan invullen. Een creatieve opdracht om vanuit dit werk met jongeren aan het werk te gaan en ze bv. een zelfportret te laten ontwerpen. ( in samenwerking met de leraar meetkunde?)
Using geometric shapes that recall the masters of modernist portrait painting – such as Alexej von Jawlensky, Oskar Schlemmer and Pablo Picasso – Hurzlmeier aims to depict women somewhere in between the way women perceive themselves, and the way they are perceived by those around them.
Leonhard Hurzlmeier's (*1983 in Starnberg) colorful oil paintings depict archetypal images of women involved in everyday life: riding bikes, protesting, getting ready in the morning, as a dentist or an architect. Provocative, ambiguous, sometimes erotically charged, sometimes critical and distant, and always humorous, the portraits unfold a panorama of current debates about gender identities. With geometric shapes that recall the masters of modernist portrait painting-such as Alexej von Jawlensky, Oskar Schlemmer, Pablo Picasso, Auguste Herbin, and Fernand Leger-Hurzlmeier creates images of women somewhere in between the way women perceive themselves and the way they are perceived by those around them.Featuring lavish plates and personal essays by Ronja von Roenne, Barbara Vinken, Daniela Stoeppel, Verena Hein, and David Cohen, as well as an interview with the artist, this bibliophile's publication presents the work of a young painter who promises to keep our interest for a long time.