Tatjana Gerhard, ‘Untitled’, 2016, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens

Image rights: Courtesy of the artist and Deweer Gallery, Otegem / © Tatjana Gerhard

About Tatjana Gerhard

Tatjana Gerhard’s realist oil paintings feature a peculiar species of troll- or ghost-like figures set against somber, dark-hued landscapes, forming a dreamlike world with melancholic undertones. Leaving her works untitled, Gerhard gives no clues about her mysterious figures, who seem to oscillate between grotesque, horrific, playful, and comic. What does one make of two pairs of small, bare legs sticking out of a simple wooden box and stretching out over an indecipherable yellow form (Untitled, 2009), for instance? The simple scenes unfold intuitively and spontaneously in Gerhard’s mind, and she paints them quickly in the manner of the Surrealists’ Automatism in order to capture the essentials of her inspiration; she later finesses the canvas with additional thin layers of paint until it evolves into the final image.

Swiss, b. 1974, based in Zurich, Switzerland