Filib Schürmann, Ohne Titel (from the series Father), 2011, acrylic, ink and colored pencil on paper, 100 x 70 cm (39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inch)
It is with great pleasure that we announce our second solo exhibition with Swiss artist Filib Schürmann (*1976) at Rotwand.
Filib Schürmann draws, writes poetry, and is a visual thinker. Especially as a thinker he is not someone to randomly throw a few lines and colors onto a sheet of paper. To the contrary, his works on paper bear testimony to a demanding creative process that takes place in small, incremental steps. Not incidentally has he titled one of the series on view schreibknecht gottes aus "die lorbeerblätter" (writing servant of god from "die Lorbeerblätter"). In these four drawings Schürmann works from deathbed scenes described by the Christian author Jakob Lorber (1800-1864). In order to represent this highly intangible and fluid transition from this world to the next, the artist not only uses illustrative drawings and ornamental components but also fragments of text, which in their density become visual elements. The artist's immense interest in such transcendental experiences is readily conveyed by his imagery, especially if the viewer makes a conscious attempt to understand his works by examining them close up, inevitably getting caught up in the details in the process. Borrowed from Lorber, the subtitle durch das innere Wort empfangen (received by the inner word) thus has nothing to do with the ironic claim of Sigmar Polke Höhere Wesen befahlen: rechte obere Ecke schwarz malen (Higher beings command: Paint upper right corner black) but must be understood in all seriousness. However, it does not concern the artist whether viewers engross themselves in the contents of his images or forgo any attempt to do so. The extreme layering and awkward relationship between the format of the paper and the rich detail of the drawing immediately seem to say: Read me, but you won't come to any conclusion.
The realization that the conditions under which we live are not really comprehendible is also a topic of the second, larger series of works. The starting point for Schürmann's Vaterserie (Father Series) was the set of files associated with the fatal traffic accident of his father, whom he therefore was never able to meet. The tragic dimension of this situation is dispelled by fragments of unsparingly detailed descriptions of the accident. Neither the viewer nor Schürmann is able to comprehend or grasp the event. Schürmann responds to this failure with a density of pictorial language, bringing together elements of abstract gesture, comics, and free-hand drawings. This imagery is most effective where a clustering of elements starts to become autonomous to the extent that it turns into a complex layering of imagery detached from any narrative. In this manner Schürmann has attained a form of artistic expression which unites revelation, historical biography, and pure story telling. Schürmann's work consistently deals with birth, life, and death, a triad that the installation in the back room shows in a very different light.
Text Susanne Neubauer
(English translation Laura Schleussner)