All Too Human
Sebastian Gögel in Dialogue with Works of Classic Modern Art from the Gunzenhauser Collection
This year’s summer exhibition in the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz – Museum Gunzenhauser is dedicated to the representation of people in the work of artists of the collection in dialogue with a contemporary position. Under the title Sebastian Gögel. All too human (Allzumenschliches) paintings and graphics by Otto Dix, Conrad Felixmüller, Helmut Kolle, Gabriele Münter, Georg Schrimpf and others are merged with works by the artist Sebastian Gögel (*1978). Sometimes gloomy, sometimes humorous, but always with great seriousness and keen observation, they document the people of their time.
Sebastian Gögel directs his artist’s gaze to where it hurts — where tragedy and comedy meet. His paintings are reflections on social, political and societal injustices, which he illustrates using a distinctive pictorial idiom — yet without pointing a finger. Inherent in his timely gaze is a level-headedness that enables him to depict the persons in his portraits, while also creating a de-individualised form of them: the lawyer, friends, the dreamer or the child. Compositionally, however, his seemingly stereotypical bodies rendered in dense colours threaten to fall apart at any moment. The sense organs are often depicted as inhumanly machine- or animal-like, and evoke tense moments which are now aggressive, now ecstatic. In a foreboding mood of new departure or else locked into self-made constructions, they represent, from face to face, symbols of interhuman relations. Whereas artists in the Weimar Republic turned away from the ecstasies of Expressionism, cultivated a sober, New Objectivity view of things, and devoted themselves with delight and curiosity to all facets of human existence, Gögel’s works can be read as a symbiosis of both tendencies. In an expressionistic manner and with a great hunger for matter, surface and colour, he exposes the verism of his motifs layer by layer. Seeing becomes an inward gaze — and a shuddering in the face of what can appear beneath.
Sebastian Gögel was born in 1978 in Sonneberg. From 1997 to 2005 he studied painting at the University of Graphic Art and Book Art in Leipzig, where he completed his master’s degree with Professor Sighard Gille in 2005. The artist’s world of colors, shapes and figures cannot be restricted to a fixed medium, nor does his artistic vocabulary know any visible limits. Not only in his work as a painter but also as a graphic artist, sculptor, photographer and tattoo artist, Gögels works get under your skin. Sebastian Gögel lives and works in Leipzig.Directions