Magma, detail
Artist Spotlight: Norbert Bisky

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com May 31 2014 3:00 AM ET

Norbert Bisky's work sails through realism, abstraction, gestural painting, and color field work, utilizing all those modes to achieve a sort of joyous, apocalyptic vision. The contrast between the sunny pop colors and the young men playing, fighting, and in extremis allows his work to retain a tension that persists.

Bisky was born in 1970 in Leipzig, in what was then East Germany, and he experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as an explosion of freedom. When he became a painter, he studied with Georg Baselitz in Berlin, then with Jim Dine. In 1995, Bisky spent a year in Madrid immersing himself in Francisco de Goya's work. His treatment of landscapes and exploration of the portrait and narrative structure place him firmly in the tradition of great European painting. But Norbert Bisky's experiments with breaking down forms and blocks of color sometimes put him on the borderline of abstract art.

Bisky has already exhibited in numerous institutions, including the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin (2003), Museum für Moderne Kunst PMMK in Ostend (2003), National Museum of Korea in Seoul (2004), Dortmunder Kunstverein (Dortmund, 2009) and Haifa Museum of Art in Israel (2009). In 2011, he took part in the Tous Cannibales exhibition shown at the Maison Rouge in Paris, then in the Collectors Room in Berlin. His works feature in a variety of collections, including at New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain in Paris. The Rostock KunstHalle is organising a major retrospective of his work to be held in late 2014.

Norbert Bisky: Works on Paper
June 7–July 26
Galerie Daniel Templon, Impasse Beaubourg, 75003 Paris.

Courtesy of Galerie Daniel Templon. Copyright VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Photography by Bernd Borchardt.

Moving Mountains, May 24,2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 31 x 23 cm
Punch Line, May 12, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 18 x 26 cm
Multiversum, May 12, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 40 x 30 cm
Kramatorsk, May 17, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 30 x 40 cm
Beware, May 25, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 42 x 56 cm
Ti Vorrei, May 2, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 64 x 50 cm
Hybris, May 12, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 18 x 26 cm
Creaming, April 10, 2014, watercolor, pencil on paper, 23 x 31 cm
Kravmaga II, April 7, 2014, oil on paper,  32 x 24 cm
Springbreak, April 8, 2014, oil on paper, 32 x 24 cm
Magma, 2014, oil on paper, 25.9 x 32.5 cm
Fracas, May 10, 2014, oil on paper, 64 x 50 cm
Maverick, May 2014, oil on paper, 64 x 50 cm
Invaders, May 2, 2014, oil on paper, 64 x 50 cm
Helix, April 2014, oil on paper, 50 x 63.5 cm
Revision, May 2014, oil on paper, 30 x 40 cm
Raft, April 14, 2014, oil on paper, 63.7 x 50 cm