Residency is always a venture for an artist. The leap into the unknown, so to speak. However, I perceived it as a chance for a fresh start, to spend 3 months in the Schwalm the wide views and frequent motives of landscape tradition of the Romanticism to act on me, or rather to look for a new consideration of my stories. Only the occasion for narration - the "heterotopic bubble" as a starting point has remained.
A long-planned study trip to Nevada (USA) I could not and did not want to put off during my residence. I could not escape the attraction of these wide, stolid, almost phlegmatic landscapes, which stand in complete contrast to the colourfulness of the unique lighting conditions. And of all the places visited, Las Vegas simply contradicts everything you can think of. The ideal place to observe a narrative vacuum and transform it into fragments and locations. A city that appears like a foreign body in its barren, timeless environment, subject to an unending metamorphosis. This place produces forgotten urban niches, which always have to give way to something new and never last long. Last but not least, it should also be seen as a playground, where any natural vegetation as a parasite has to give way to or be replaced by artificial lights in every conceivable color.
Back in the Schwalm the impressions, for which I can not find superlatives until today, stick to me for a long time and start to mix with new experiences. Tranquility, serenity and emptiness meet sensory overload, decadence and excessiveness and clear the way for painterly approaches that contribute to a deceleration of the stories and fascinate me to this day.
The artist scholarship Willingshausen and a stay in Las Vegas in 2017 strongly influence the painting of Robert Sturmhoevel. Color palette and motifs can be difficult to locate between the Schwalm and Nevada. The seemingly bizarre combination of the colorfulness of both places - on the one hand the rather lush plant green and on the other hand the yellowish-red nuances of the wasteland combine Sturmhoevel with amazing lightness. The mood remains, as with his older works, very dense and intense. Nature brings no relaxation, on the contrary. This also seems to be the logical consequence if we take a closer look at the two places. The Schwalm was for the Brothers Grimm a fairy tale oasis in which they collected many dark stories. In Nevada, the world's second largest weapons test site, as well as the legendary Area 51, are located. Thus both areas, as well as the sites occupied by Sturmhoevel's protagonists, become a haven for lovers of unsolved cases. They are projection surfaces of supposed memories and faded premonitions. Somewhere in nowhere, between dream and film sequences, a wonderful example of the aberrations of reality. Through the precise staging they are in Sturmhoevel's work to a hideaway full of puzzles, scenes with familiar scenes whose stories are told by the viewer. The word "dream landscape" gets a whole new meaning here.
This tempting anxiety we find in his earlier series of pictures. With his new works, Robert Sturmhoevel manages to broaden his work cycle and remain faithful to the intensity of narration. Also, the new painting techniques he uses are not a break here, but a logical decision and refreshing development. An exciting insight into the work process give his drawings. As work sketches, they reveal his craftsmanship and testify to the consequences of the formation of ideas.