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"Behind the face"

Energy and subversion are my driving forces

Art complaisantly covers our personal and public walls, accommodating our interior design -- that is not what I want. My paintings are supposed to explode in these rooms -- a highly visible interference, like oversized curry sausages nailed to the wall. Venghaus instead of Feng Shui. My art is not designed to decorate and make things prettier; it does not want to entertain and distract. Rather, it comes across as a direct and imminent tool for the survival attitude of its users. My art belongs to the continuously individualized configuration of life, such as a haircut or favoring a certain video or car. It possesses a functionality that is different from a window letting in light or a roof keeping of the rain. Yet is functional: I use the spontaneous and striking power of art to preserve my identity in a no-longer-structured world and to subversively counteract the psychosis of globalization. I'm not fighting globalization, which is irreversible, but I'm looking for something expressing life and joy under the rule of global primacy.

The faces that I paint are newly coding vitality and humanism -- even at the dreary corners of suburbia and in the street canyons of the megalopolis. Province no longer exists; everything is everywhere: It is only behind the faces that we might still find some tranquility.

I don't require any models for my images of urban people, as I am almost constantly exposed to a surge of impressions coming from TV zapping, ads and magazines. Similar to an electric storm, thousands of exciting images are racing through my consciousness, creating a nervous disposition; the image of the world is generating itself ever more quickly and greedily -- or doesn't it?

My pictures are holding on to what's fleeing, evaporating, wasted: Time and again, I can save a minuscule fragment and elevate it into something unique, while all the other bits and pixels disappear into oblivion. The snippets that I save are those that best describe the distraction of society, meaning those that most unsettle me. I am interested in what heroines and heroes of the total and permanent media presence experience in heir failure, their inability to communicate, the hollow-cheeked lasciviousness and their grand airs -- their plebeian beauty. And all those surrounding themselves with my paintings have a cultural totem, a banner that rises above the crackling, all-covering frothy carpeting of the global media Zeitgeist.
Hermann Venghaus
Hermann Venghaus Hermann Venghaus red
Hermann Venghaus blue orange
About the artist
  • Born 1953 in West Germany's Ruhr region
  • Received a box of oil paints on his 10th birthday
  • Journalist and photographer in Aachen and Düsseldorf
  • Communications manager at RWE in Essen and Siemens in Munich
  • Full-time painter as of 2005
  • Exhibits in Ludwigshafen, Munich and Würzburg