With the Berg. Weitsicht exhibition, Galerie Wolfgang Jahn in Munich is showing a curatorial selection of artistic works spanning generations that deal with the portrayal of mountains as a thematic subject. Paintings by Herbert Brandl (*1959), Sven Drühl (*1968), Felix Rehfeld (*1981), Hubert Scheibl (*1952) and Bernd Zimmer (*1948) as well as sculptures by Stephan Huber (*1952) are on display.
The portrayal of mountains in landscape painting reached its peak in the 19th century. With the burgeoning nationalist tendencies at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in German National Socialism, mountains were politically ideologised as the symbol of monumental, immovable phenomena and propagandistically instrumentalised as an expression of power and strength as well as deeply felt attachment to one’s homeland. Due to the foreshadowing visual convention linked to this, the portrayal of mountains in contemporary art was considered taboo for a long time. Depictions of mountains therefore only made their way back into the art world tentatively. Mountains had to be de-ideologised and rediscovered in their original beauty and fascination.
The artists shown here interpret the mountain theme in very different individual stylistic as well as thematic directions. These range from expressive, gestural abstractions that rely on the power of colour and the momentum of the painting process, as in the works of Herbert Brandl, Hubert Scheibl and Bernd Zimmer, as well as formal deconstructions using stylised forms and landscape elements reduced to impasto swathes of colour, as in the paintings by Felix Rehfeld. Compared to this, Sven Drühl’s works, skilfully reduced to essential characteristics and featuring a high-contrast interplay of light and dark, almost seem like graphic prints in which the mountain ridges stand out against the sky like silhouettes and ghosts. By contrast, Stephan Huber’s expansive sculptures show mountain ranges rendered simply in white growing out of their plinths, which are impressively and expressively reproduced as miniature models.
Dr. Veit Ziegelmaier