Hosfelt Gallery

Alexander and Bonin Gallery

The paintings of German artist Stefan Kürten depict the environments we create in our tenacious attempt to make life perfect.

Chic mid-century homes, picturesque bungalows, meticulously manicured landscapes and resort architecture evidence the dazzling promise of economic prosperity in the post-World War II West. These are bright, clean, thoughtfully-designed places. Safe and happy places. The imagery is fabricated from Kürten’s own snapshots of California and Northern Europe or from ubiquitous “shelter porn.” The scenes seem to glow with a soft, golden, interior light – an effect achieved through the use of metallic gold pigment in the foundational layers of the paintings – that adds to their sense of harmony and richness.

Kürten’s is a perfect world – almost. Beautiful as these images are, they’re unsettling – often for no reason you can quite name. Idyllic scenes are rendered uncanny by indeterminate sources of light that cast improbable shadows. Strangely-colored skies threaten an oncoming thunderstorm or recall a light-damaged image from the early days of color photography. Trash collects in the bottom of an empty swimming pool. Walls are defaced with graffiti. Decay, it seems, lies just beneath the surface. (Hosfelt Gallery)

Stefan Kürten is a painter and musician who lives and works in Düsseldorf. In 2007, Shadowtime, a survey of his paintings since 2001, was shown at Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld and the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin. His paintings are included in the permanent collections of several European institutions as well as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Montreal Museum of Art. In 2011, he was the subject of a solo exhibition Rainbows in the Dark at Cosar HMT, Düsseldorf. Five of his paintings were included in Gesamtkunstwerk, New Art From Germany at the Saatchi Gallery, London in the spring of 2012. Here Comes the Night, Kürten’s last show at Alexander and Bonin, New York took place during the fall of 2012. Kürten’s works on paper were the subject of a solo exhibition, Come on home, at the Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr in the spring of 2013.

Stefan Kürten received his degree from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and studied at the Art Institute of San Francisco. He lives and works in Düsseldorf.