Philipp Rudolf Humm: Being and Time at Riflemaker 24th November – 1st December 2016
by Guy Sangster-Adams
In a similar vein to Gauguin who had a very successful career as a stockbroker before the 1882 stock market crash prompted him to revaluate and pursue painting full-time, Philipp Rudolf Humm who equally has enjoyed a very succesful business career was inspired to begin painting a few years ago during a period of profound self-reflection. His work is already gaining plaudits; the celebrated British art critic, curator, writer and poet, Edward Lucie-Smith has described him as “a highly sophisticated artist”, continuing “in an acutely original fashion he merges classical painting techniques with Pop elements, to create a new kind of Expressionism”.
Drawing heavily on art history, not least the influence of both his German and Belgian heritage – the Blaue Reiter, Delvaux and the Surrealist movement, in his paintings Humm creates playful mise-en-scènes that allow him to comment on the world around him. His work is often satirical but never censorious, allowing the viewer to engage freely with each work unfettered by conventional orthodoxies.
One of his new works which will be exhibited in the exhibition, Being and Time, that showcases both Humm’s thematic approach and the quality of its execution is Liberated. Painted in oil but in a vivid Pop Art palette the work is thematically multi-layered. Inspired by The Kiss of Peace and Justice by 17th century French artist, Laurent de la Hyre, Humm reimagines the classical setting as a kiss between two contemporarily dressed/undressed women and as a projection upon a wall in front of which stand four conservatively dressed women.
De la Hyre’s painting was an allegory of tolerance titularly inspired by Psalm 85:10, “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other”. Humm’s setting also carries an evocation of the infamous ‘kiss’ the leader of the GDR, Erich Honecker, and his Soviet counterpart, Leonid Brezhnev, that was painted onto the Berlin Wall by graffiti artist, Dmitri Vrubel, in celebration of its fall. With Liberated, Humm evocatively contrasts the liberal and permissive aspects of Renaissance society with the increasing conservatism and extremism of contemporary politics – both the very real threat of another Wall, and the closed, intolerant culture that it symbolises.
Being and Time promises to be a fascinating and multi-faceted exhibition, that will both please the eye and engender many talking points.
Philipp Rudolf Humm: Being and Time
runs from 24th November – 1st December, 2016
Riflemaker, 79 Beak St, London W1F 9SU
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 6pm; Saturday: 11am – 6pm
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Tags: Art & Design