Lutz Braun

Work

Text

The works of Lutz Braun who lives in Berlin show ruinous, dreamy to nightmarish landscapes some of which with humans appearing umbrally. Every idyll emanating from an urban scenery has been eliminated. Loneliness and transcience are dominating – a kind of end timeliness. But still, space is filled with an atmosphere of a strangely inviting effect to the viewer. Bizarre, humorous issues are resonating.

The topical aspect described above, as well as the specific narrative form are very significant in Lutz Braun’s paintings and drawings. Both factors, historically and in regard to the artist's personality, will be looked at in order to approach their complexity.

In the painting “Vägen” for instance, a figure is wandering alongside a dying forest with trees stripped of all green. Bare and naked, the branches are pointing sideways – a motif which is repeated in the overlonged limbs of the figure making its physicalness seem grotesque in front of the barren landscape. Emptiness and silence reign and alienate. In this way, commonly valid knowledge and the everyday experience of the viewer are subtly being hawked: a forested landscape becomes threatening, a human being a shadow of itself. But where does this spark of the humorous, accordingly resembling “hope”, come from?

It is the choice of colour, above all, what determines this ambivalence in depiction and demonstrates the connection of the artist to his former teacher Per Kirkeby. While the greater part of the work is a shimmer of tone-in-tone, suggesting a dim mood, the cloudless sky opposes in bright blue.

Concerning colour, the artist has stated that, as a holder of atmosphere, it is his most important tool. “All my inspiration flows out of it, and into it, and therefore I want to distance all of my intentions, ideas and theories from it.”(1) Let us dwell further on form and subject – as carriers of Braun’s most peculiar atmosphere of scurrility through ambivalence. His instruments for that purpose are contradictions and radical contrast on one side, to exaggerate and escalate to the point of excess on the other.

A theory of the author Michail Bachtin in his work “Carnival And Grotesque”(2) accurately describes that build up of atmosphere, even though giving very different examples. Physicalness and body referred procedures - like ingestion or digestion, copulation, growth, aging, illness, death, etc. (3) – are especially suitable for bizarre portrayal. When processes of excess and exaggeration are added, that is already grotesque in itself. Size shifting, metamorphosis, pervasion and fertile overgrowth are just some of the perceptions coming to mind while regarding the works of Lutz Braun.

As a superordinate concept, alteration could be applied. The boundaries of an abstractly conceived body are removed, and thereby, “the grotesque (…) will never be finished, it is something nascent, in constant formation and creation, with autonomous qualities.”(4)

Therefore death, in its variety of manifestations, is omnipresent. Deterioration of landscapes is of lesser concern when figures have skull-like features instead of individual physiognomies. Decaying, apparitional humanoid shapes and animals show up, urban sceneries seem decrepit and abandoned. The artist's affinity to death should be easy to connote only negatively. But is this not about a far more complex narrative than just the one regarding the end? Does there not also exist a (pre-)narrative? All works of Lutz Braun have a storytelling, stage-like character to them. His sceneries appear like film stills.

Besides reminiscences of scenarios of horror films, there are also those of comic-strips. Thereby, one picture frame functions as a detail representing a generic plot. In this sense, the artist can also be seen in a tradition, among others represented by William Hogarth.

“A story is told” - this is why Lutz Braun will very often work with found materials. Old wooden planks or discarded carpets, as well as classical canvas, will serve as painting grounds. While this is not about the idea of recycling, it means dealing with actual substance, to understand the particular history of an item, to artistically utilise and forge it inseparable with one's own inspiration. The past - as incident or atmospherically, as memory – merges with present and future, both equal in relation to each other.

Lutz Braun strives to eliminate time as a factor in his work, to conceive and reflect it as synchrony. By the way, this is the reason why he does not date his works. He wants to relieve them of obsolete cultural bonds, so they can claim their engagements simply by being in the world. Is it something real or a dream, a chimera or even utopia? All of these are possible, from an individual aspect of reality up to a blending without boundaries – within the artist’s pursuit to undermine, to repeal the omnipresence of mortality. In the works of Lutz Braun, “the sickness unto death”, an existential kind of fear is to be resolved by transformation. May the viewer find inner latitude(5), for the demise of the old will bring about something else.

Notes:

(1) Lutz Braun. (2) Bachtin, Michail: Literatur und Karneval. Zur Romantheorie und Lachtheorie. [Übers. von Angela Hauserner]. Frankfurt a.M. 1985.
 (3) Vgl. Ebd., S. 17.
 (4) Ebd., S. 16.
 (5) Kierkegaard, Soren: Die Krankheit zum Tode, Rowohlt, München 1969.

Vita

1976

Lutz Braun was born in Schleswig in northern Germany

(he lives and works in Berlin)

1998—2003

Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main (Per Kirkeby, Thomas Bayrle)

2010

Studio scholarship of the Lenikus Stiftung, Vienna

2011

Artist in Residency, Centro Cultural de Andratx, Mallorca

Selected Solo Shows

2020

"Wer sich davonläuft, läuft sich hinterher" – SP2, Berlin

2019

Im Licht der gehemmten und geleugneten Möglichkeiten – Jahn und Jahn, Munich

Post Ghost – Galerie Galerie Sima, Nuremberg

2018

Queen of Siam – Rotten Bar, Karlsruhe

Wizard of Worry – Galerie Thierry Marlat, Paris

New Positions, Art Cologne, Cologne

Passing Motorist – Galerie Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt am Main

2016

Spuk ist die Absicht – Galerie Jahn Baaderstrasse, Munich

Rat Park – Galerie Nagel & Draxler, Cologne

2014

Les Feulies – Galerie Sandra Bürgel, Munich

Phobismus, mit Isabelle Fein – Galerie Goldnes, Bogen/Niederbayern

2013

Die Zukunft liegt in Ruinen – Galerie Jahn Baaderstraße, Munich

Teenagerweisheit (mit Alexander Ruthner) – Wiener Art Foundation/Büro Weltausstellung, Vienna

Kunst von der Erde (with Ioan Grosu) – Kunstraum, Munich

Memento Mio – Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin

2012

Mercy for Objects (with Isabelle Fein) – Terminal Projects, New York

Der Tod ist eine Geisteskrankheit – ACME, Los Angeles

2 Vögel (with Ioan Grosu) – Phoenix-BB, Berlin

2010

Lichtjahre – Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin

2009

Sternendreck – Waggon am Kulturgleis, Offenbach am Main

Abstrakter Realismus – Blanket Gallery, Vancouver

Corpse Telefon with Michael Moos – After The Butcher, Berlin

2008

L’air solaire – Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin

2007

La nuit des zozos curated by Yves Brochard – Random Gallery Air de Paris / Praz-Delavallade, Paris

2006

Symetrie der Dummheit – Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne

Kloten Flynn (with Kai Althoff) – Berlin Biennale, Berlin

2005

Solo für eine befallene Trompete (with Kai Althoff) – ACME, Los Angeles

Lutz Braun & Bernadette Mittrup – Galerie Christian Nagel, Berlin

Sad, not Sorry – Galerie Antik, Berlin

Kirchliche Kunst der Neuzeit – Galerie Antik, Berlin

Kir Royal Carlos Depot – Schickeria Bar, Berlin

2004

Milchlein Schälch (with Christina Morhardt) – Austellungsort Restitution, Berlin

Der Tod ist durch die Begrifflichkeit gegeben – Galerie Antik, Berlin

Verwesung ohne Mitwirkung der Zeit – Galerie Antik, Berlin

2003

Die Schande der Freiheit – Autocenter Berlin, Berlin

Büffelhummel – Galerie Antik, Berlin

Nach Köln (with Christina Morhardt) – Atelier Giovanna Sarti, Frankfurt am Main

2002

Endlich Allein – Lola Montez, Frankfurt am Main

Dornwald – Menschenraum, Berlin

1999

Das Grüne im Menschen – Ponyhof, Offenbach

Psychomauer – Rotari, Offenbach

Selected Group Shows

2020

Followed by Ourselves (with Sara Milio and Laure Prouvost) – Tilde, Amsterdam

2019

Die Zukunft der SPD, curated by Hans-Jürgen Hafner and Gunter Reski – Zwinger Galerie, Berlin

Bright Light, curated by Domenico de Chirico – Gussglashalle, Berlin

2018

Bis hierher lief noch ganz gut – Zwischenwelt, Berlin

mi chiedo se c'è un posto in questo mondo... – KM, Berlin

40+10+1 – Jahn und Jahn, Munich

Braun Bells – Zwischenwelt, Berlin

Romantik – Kunsthalle Schlieren, Zurich/Schlieren

2017

Hütti (curated by Ben Schumacher und Veit Kurz) – Ludlow 38 , New York City

Es geht voran (curated by Dominik Eggermann) – Galerie Sandra Bruegel, Berlin

Welche Zeit, sagte sie, dachte er – Kunstverein Wilhelmshöhe, Ettlingen

2016

Jeder sollte in der Lage sein, Kunst zu erwerben – Provinz @ Kunst Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Recklinghausen

Wendezeiten – CCA Andratx, Mallorca

Global Terror – Nagel Draxler Kabinett, Berlin

Lutz Braun + Isabelle Fein – Center, Berlin

Der Zeit angemessen begegnen – Kunstverein Oldenburg, Oldenburg

Obsessions in Drawings / Zeichnerische Obsession – Schönwald Fine Arts, Düsseldorf

2015

oblique strategies – Nationalmuseum Urbanstrasse, Berlin

Gastspiel – Schönewald Fine Arts, Düsseldorf

2014

O.N.P.A.P.E.R. – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

Es ist schon alles gesagt, nur noch nicht von allen III – Galerie Jahn Baaderstraße, Munich

Den Wald vor lauter Künstlern – Illegales Museum, Berlin

Black Market – Lehrter Siebzehn, Berlin

2013

Painting Forever! – KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin

Die Blendung – Galerie Sandra Brüssel, Berlin

Imaginäre Lösungen - in diesem Sinne I. Ein pataphysisches Spektakel – Kosmetiksalon Babette, Berlin

Ex-Fullmoon – Centro Cultural de Andratx, Mallorca

Dawn of the hermetics – Kosmetiksalon Babette, Berlin

2012

Arbeiten auf Papier (curated by Matthias Jahn and Felicitas Kirgis) – Galerie Fred Jahn, Munich

About face – ACME, Los Angeles

Bilderladen Dumont-Carré – Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne

leben, schweben, beben – Galerie Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt am Main

Lutz Braun, Andreas Dielenbach, Hans-Jörg Mayer, Henning Strassburger – Galerie Feinbach & Minninger und Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne

Feierabend – Reception, Berlin

2011

Der Abstrakte Realismus – Galerie Jahn Baaderstrasse, Munich

Works on paper – ACME, Los Angeles

The Cannibal’s Muse II – Autocenter on location / Based in Berlin, Berlin

The raising of Lazarus – Fabrikgebäude Urbanstraße, Berlin

Alptraum Tours to Berlin – Projektraum Deutscher Künstlerbund e.V., Berlin

La Vallée Patibulaire – Rote Insel- ehem. Schlachterei, Berlin

Captain Pamphile - Ein Bildroman in Stücken – Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg

Augusts Llen – Hotel Intercontinental, Vienna

The Black Goddness – Autocenter, Vienna

2010

Demolition Milk II – KIT-Kunst-im-Tunnel, Düssedorf

Paradise Lost. Holidays in Hell – CCA Andratx, Mallorca

Captain Pamphile - Ein Bildroman in Stücken – Städtische Galerie Waldkraiburg, Waldkraiburg

2009

Là-Bas – Galerie Crèvecoeur, Paris

Until the End of the World – AMP, Athens

Crotla Presents – lothringer13/laden, Munich

2008

L'Arrière-Salle De Notre Esprit – Showroom, Berlin

Die große Weltverschwörung – Koloniestr.. 13, Berlin

5000 Jahre Moderne Kunst. Painting, Smoking, Eating – Galerien der Stadt Esslingen am Neckar, Villa Merkel und Bahnwärterhaus, Esslingen

2007

Bonjour Monsieur – Ensor Gmür, Berlin

Palisadenparenchym – Danese, New York

Our affects fly out of the field of human reality – Galerie Sandra Bürgel, Berlin

2006

Nach dem Beischlaf ist die Seele traurig (with Thomas Schroeren, Klaus Winichner) – CourtYard Gallery Annex, Beijing

Contragolp – Karl Marx Allee 87, Berlin

Von Mäusen und Menschen – 4th Berlin Biennale, Berlin

Bonanza Jack – Tilton Gallery, New York

2005

Kirchliche Kunst der Neuzeit – Galerie Antik, Berlin

Kir Royal – Carlos Depot, Berlin

Bauer, Braun, Koch Reinhardt ... – Galerie Giti Nourbakhsch, Berlin

2004

Gasthof zur Hundsrute – Galerie Antik, Berlin

GASAG-Kunstpreis 2004 – Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben, Berlin

Olivia Berckemeyer - FROHE ZUKUNFT – Halle für Kunst Lüneburg, Lüneburg

2003

Die Falltür zur armen Welt – Speicher Mühlenstrasse, Berlin

absolvenz2 – Das Städel, Frankfurt am Main