Michael Bauer was born in 1973 in Erkelenz, Germany. He studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Braunschweig from 1998 to 2002. He lives and works in New York.
Reminiscent of the anthropomorhpic portraits of 16th century painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Michael Bauer’s oeuvre creates figurative compositions from abstraction and design. Remnants of recognizable elements such as eyes and hands give discomforting relation to celiac smears, paltry encrustations and fluid brush strokes, each accomplished with a pristine delicacy.
Bauer’s sculptures and paintings manifest the invented alter-ego of friends who share the artist’s taste for music, while at the peak of each sculpture or painting hints to their characters can be detected: relicts, pens, the cast of a finger or photographs. The titles, on the other hand, offer the observer a possibility of mental retreat and entry into the fictional underground world, for instance, of Agartha.
In Michael Bauer’s paintings twines arise, wilt and dissipate in a sepia gloom; sometimes they float, entangled in eyeballs or ribbons of bright, rich colour that rises from the debris of a tough geometry. These are images partly built from non sequiturs, lurid shards of bodies, and sharp, fabricated animals – they’re 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. But there is also something of the bird about these pictures, in their spiny protrusions, feathery, jewel-like bolts of color and light, flights of fancy.
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.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
Villa Merkel, Esslingen am Neckar, DE, 2011
Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz, CH, 2009
Selected Group Exhibitions
KAI 10, Raum für Kunst, Düsseldorf, DE, 2009
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