Reminiscent of the anthropomorphic portraits of 16th century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Michael Bauer (*1973) creates strong compositions in which figurative elements merge effortlessly with abstraction. Bauer’s works on paper and paintings thus suggest a motif, hinting at eyes or hands of three-dimensional shapes, while simultaneously disrupting any arising idea of a figure through bold colored geomtric patterns and frizzled pen lines. The resulting dynamic is intriguingly appealing. Bauer’s images are made of lurid shards of bodies, and sharp, fabricated animals – they are disjointed, sexual, delirious and funny; worlds within worlds that won’t be specified. They make us think of filthy cities, and fouler minds; of generous interiors, abandoned excavations, half-forgotten rituals, shards of music and unexplainable joy. The paint breathes and spawns like earth, and, like morass, it encourages growth – of words or detours into humor or remembrances to a mythology of forgotten codifications. Bauer’s monochromatic and abstract sculptures strike a different chord to the paintings and stand before them like anthropomorphic sentries on plain, even flimsy supports. Often counter-intuitive, they are big, voluptuous, a little inscrutable and full of personality.
Michael Bauer studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig and lived in Berlin before moving to New York, where he lives and works now.
Deutsche Bank AG, London, UK
Kunstsaele Berlin, Berlin, DE
Neufert Stiftung mit Sitz in Weimar, Cologne, DE
Sammlung Boros, Berlin, DE
Sammlung Südhausbau, Munich, DE
Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK