Axel Geis: Persona

28 October - 6 December 2014
Installation Views
Press release

Gallery Baton presents Persona, the solo exhibition of Axel Geis (b. 1970) from October 28th to December 6th at its Apgujeong space. Following the ardent support of the domestic and international art lovers on the current exhibition Green Heart by Rosa Loy (b. 1958), Persona is presented as part of the series of exhibitions that illuminate German contemporary art, exemplified by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932) and Neo Rauch (b. 1960) and pioneering the path of contemporary art, and it introduces a promising painter selected by Gallery Baton.


Born in Limburg, Germany, in 1970, Axel is relatively not as well known in Asia, but the quality of his works is being recognized with International fame as his works are included in various international collections and institutions like Centre Pompidou of Paris and Rubell Family Collection. Having studied at Mainz and Karlsruhe, he currently works in Berlin.


Axel primarily finds the subject matter for his works in the characters appearing in classical movies. For him, the scenes spread by the characters, given the relationships between Individuality and social position on top of the setting of time and space based on the scenario, become the source of nspiration. These scenes are selected by chance, thus they can become the starting point of the actual work. pontaneity serves as a parent body conceiving the work's theme, form and message in various ways like in the Polaroid series of Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) and spin paintings of Damien Hirst (b. 1965). In case of Axel, spontaneity is expressed through the scenes in movies captured accidentally by the artist.


The shape of the character re-created by the artist hints at an impression of being strongly but quietly captivated to a specific thought or being placed there by an ambiguous setting. Intentional details and coarse omissions partly coexist within the characters, and they are sparingly explained only by the clothing and surrounding structures. Besides, they appear flat and become buried into the mysterious background color. Fascinated by the traditional painting style of classical masters such as El Greco (1541-1614) and Francisco Goya (1746-1828), the artist has strived to achieve contemporary representation of classical painting technique through subjective interpretation and realization of mastery of skills through subtle setting between background and characters, control of light and shade by the traces of paintbrushes, and selection of colors for depicting the inner nature.