ARTITIOUS

login

Username or Email

Password

Lost password?
Need an account? Sign up!

ARTITIOUS

Sign up

Sign up as artist Sign up as gallery Sign up as guest
Back to login

ARTITIOUS

Forgot password?

Enter Username or Email to recieve new password.

Back to login

Moritz Schleime Main Profile Image

Moritz Schleime

Berlin, Germany

Buy artwork inquiry

We will contact the gallery of the artist for you. In case the artist is not contracted with a gallery we will contact him / her directly.

Painting • Born in Berlin, Germany • Studied at Berlin, Germany

How noisy can an empty beach be?

Moritz Schleime’s paintings imagine a degeneration of Pop culture, a world in which monster, hipster, comic characters, and motley protagonists of popular culture commingle and devolve. Although Schleime’s work appears driven and contextualized by American pillars such as Slash, Michael Jackson and Oscar the Grouch, it’s delivered in a way that is characteristically German. The surreal, undetermined and indeterminate narrative of Neo...

Read more

Moritz Schleime’s paintings imagine a degeneration of Pop culture, a world in which monster, hipster, comic characters, and motley protagonists of popular culture commingle and devolve. Although Schleime’s work appears driven and contextualized by American pillars such as Slash, Michael Jackson and Oscar the Grouch, it’s delivered in a way that is characteristically German. The surreal, undetermined and indeterminate narrative of Neo Rauch, the splashly, blotted painting of Daniel Richter and about a dozen other German painters who have characterized the Leipzig school—and now, the second wave of these painters in Schleime’s generation who experienced, for example, the GDR only as a young child.

In a way, it makes perfect sense for Schleime to use GDR comics as a narrative structure, because these comics were propaganda, a way to introduce children to the merits of Socialism. But, at 6 years old, Schleime left East Berlin for the West, being enveloped in western Pop culture for the first time. Coincidentally, in this same year, 25 year-old Michael Jackson was severely burned by firework displays for a Pepsi commercial. Some say that this was the beginning of what has been characterized as the biggest fall in the history of Pop. In this year also, Jackson’s “Thriller” album had entered the Guinness Book of Records as the best selling record of all time.

This piece began as an interview with the artist, in which I sent some polite questions, but, like Schleime’s subjects, devolved by our poor grasps of each other’s native language. One of the questions though, over the period during which this piece was written, grew increasingly more troubling. The question involved the role of Michael Jackson in Schleime’s paintings. For Schleime, Jackson represents a symbol of the “oversexed, braindead and freaky generation.” Reminiscent also of the monsters in Jackson’s “Thriller” horror music video, Schleime’s post-human creatures are viciously stylish and modishly hideous.

Shortly after Michael Jackson’s death, I received a concerned email from Schleime requesting I not use what he said about Jackson, admitting he had been critical with “sarcastic picture jokes” but always “an adorer of his magic.” Although I assured him I wouldn’t use the quotes, I realized his work reflects our culture’s ambivalence towards its heroes. The tale of Michael Jackson is one largely of accountability, both personal and cultural.

As Jackson’s chronology flooded the media and music sales exploded, one could wonder what other details will emerge to aid our understanding. Who or what is responsible for the vacancy he displayed in fame and success? And who exactly was that person? Behind the savage mask of conspicuous yet denied plastic and depigmentation surgeries remained a confused, shy, timid man who was nostalgic for a childhood he never fully experienced in privacy or security. These are all concerns we ought to have of a culture that at once encouraged and scorned the often poorly reasoned and impulsive actions of his private life.

Although Schleime’s work nowhere explicitly depicts Kurt Cobain, it suggests Nirvana’s quintessentially youthful angst, anger and subsequent commodification of this ethos. In 1989, as the Berlin wall fell, Nirvana had been a band for two years, released their first album, and were preparing to record Nevermind. Schleime’s rebellious imagery, some nostalgic (the obsolete boombox, GDR generic comic characters) and some longer lasting (restroom graffiti, skull heads, studded vests), demonstrate that the rawest, countercultural, defiant act, accouterment, accessory, or fashion can be effortlessly branded, commodified and commercialized. It goes without saying, yes: magazines and painting.

This said, when looking at Schleime’s work, my mind and eye keep returning to three paintings: Bigmouse (2008), Bigmouse2 (2009), and Asso Rock (2009). These paintings eloquently capture those raw, youthful emotions of anger, defiance, confusion of identity, and so on. In addition, they’re painted in a rough and loose way reciprocal to these feelings. However, the problem I have with these images in particular is that I quickly forget about all these ideas and the presence of painting and begin to think I am looking at an American Apparel ad.

This contention is the same I have with Zak Smith’s Suicide Girl paintings: He’s skillfull, in a surreptitious manner, with his depiction of pierced and sulky punk rock girls of soft porn, but the moment they exist as paintings, they no longer feel subversive. In the painting Bigmouse2 (2009), Schleime cleverly dresses a figure (a hairy, mousy hipster or hipper mouse, depending on your reading) in a provocative yet casual pose. Although not as vulgar, pediphilic or alluring as American Apparel’s advertising campaign, perhaps the graffiti-strewn wall containing bits of corporate and indie band logos make the same crooning gesture towards the confused messiness of youth culture. I suppose the main message has been codified and commodified for some time, the same trends have cycled and now one direction remains—a cultural entropy. This is the true subject of Schleime’s paintings.

Is the challenge of painting to overcome the message’s lost effectiveness by the contextual obstructions inherent in the medium? Perhaps this is a question that also plagued Nirvana after the success Nevermind, an album that packaged the most enraged, bewildered and anxiety-filled affect with an attractive and accepting Pop sensibility and veneer. Cobain was deeply ambivalent about this dialectic, seeking a less refined production of the following album in part to alienate the mainstream adolescent audience he despised. But soon after recording In Utero Cobain had misgivings about the noisy production of highly refined song writing, having several of the tracks remastered and polished. At this point, though, Nirvana could not escape their cultural context as the spokespersons of Generation X.

Perhaps this is why Asso Rock (2008) brings me back to the ubiquitous American Apparel urban advertising campaign. This painting depicts a girl wearing a hoodie and leggings, menacingly flicking off the viewer. On the tip of her middle finger rests a skull ring, inside its eye sockets are American dollar signs. Also to the hooded sweatshirt is a signifier of counterculture and concealment of identity. The hoodie in Scheime’s painting indicates also anonymity and mystery but also menace, danger, anger and rage.

It should be interesting to see how Schleime’s paintings develop. While Jackson and Cobain have experienced intense retrogressions, Schleime also makes the point that Pop and youth counterculture not only have assimilated but also live forever with a market niche for slickly packaged angst. If Berlin’s hip, youthful dwellers are anything like Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s, one truth is clear: hipsterism and more importantly its harbingers, like adolescence, fashions and trends, are ephemeral. Counterculture will devolve, within and outside of commerce, but die infinite deaths.

By Greg Lindquist, (Beatiful/Decay Magazin, Los Angeles, 2009)


EXHIBITIONS

SOLO

2016

"Die Aussenseiter“, Galerie LADEN FUER NICHTS, Leipzig

2014

"Paintorado“, LARM Galleri, Kopenhagen/Dänemark

2013

"Kommste heut nicht, kommste morgen“ Galerie LADEN FUER NICHTS, Leipzig

show all

GROUP

2016

“NULL ACHT FUFFZEHN“, Laden fuer Nichts, Leipzig

“Inaugural Exhibition“ Galerie Patrick Ebensperger, Wien

“Das vierte Person Problem“, Feinkunst Krüger, Hamburg

show all

EDUCATION (detailed)

1998 – 2004 Diplom und Meisterschüler an der Kunsthochschule Berlin


For more information and inquiries about this artist, please contact Artitious by emailing to artist@artitious.com

Other artists...

more artists...