For Abel Auer, the shadow is as ambiguous as it is incisive: it is a doppelganger, ideal silhouette
and “partner in crime” in developing new artistic methods. Auer describes his landscapes and
portraits as “post-nuclear new symbolism.” Based on a desire to redefine concepts of “beauty,” “naivety,”
and “transcendence” beyond postmodern art theories, his description bridges the gap between
the nineteenth century and the present.
Auer developed his artistic range in numerous group contexts. In the early 1990s he founded Akademie
Isotrop in Hamburg, followed by long-standing collaborations with figures including Kai
Althoff, Dorota Jurczak and Armin Krämer. His intensive exploration of various forms of counterculture,
folk art and medieval iconography have always been channeled into painting, sculpture and
film as the central focus of his work.
Auer’s “Wolkenbilder” (Cloud Paintings)—exhibited together at Kirchgasse for the first time—revisit
the elaborate formal vocabulary of Symbolism, while the gallery’s second room features one of
his cinematographic painting installations. It too refers back to the nineteenth century, to the prehistory
of cinema in which the moving and narrative dimension of images was still entirely within the
realm of painting. In the painting-cinema, Auer’s shadows become a “blend of self and the absence