ID painting #9, 2016
Cornelius Quabeck comes from Wuppertal, Germany, where he was born in 1974. He had a DAAD scholarship in London in 1999. Quabeck lives and works in Dusseldorf, Germany. His work may appear to be abstract, but it also contains figurative elements, even though they may be hard to detect. Sometimes, though, these elements are quite distinct, materialising the artist’s phantoms. Quabeck’s occupation with so-called heroes of the cultural scene continues. Following his studies, he at first did large-scale, charcoal drawings of figures on canvas. On the one hand, Quabeck produced his eternally reiterated monkey pictures, for instance a chimpanzee who holds tight to a branch with one hand while his face screams to attract the viewer’s attention and is distorted into a skull.
In contrast, there are portraits of stars from TV and the music scene, for example, the Oasis band member Liam Gallagher (2003) or Liv Tyler (2003). These have been kept to light contour drawings and, because of their sheer size, confer the impression of a personal homage. With a few strokes, Quabeck furnishes them with animal ears and facial scars and transforms them into hybrids. For which reason they look, in the end, as if they were wearing a hide or an animal mask. In his Menschentier (human-animal) pictures, Quabeck points back to precedents and a tradition that runs from comics to Jörg Immendorff’s works.
As part of the series “Tiere lesen, Menschen essen”(animals read, humans eat), it presents its own complex along with portraits of well-known TV cooks and posing animals. The animals are shown while reading. They are instructing themselves on how to avoid the cooking pot.
The “Tres Amigos” series on exhibit at the Galerie Samuelis Baumgarte in Bielefeld shows, respectively, Quabeck’s guitar as well as the last issue of the Financial Times, its black title page with missing letters that now reads “Final Times”; both objects are draped over an armchair. On show are the artist’s accessories; his clothing, which likewise finds a place on the chair, is sketched in outline. They are not just compositional studies, but these articles are depicted as stand-ins for the absent artist.
Quabeck belongs to a class of artists revitalizing psychedelia. In an essay on Quabeck’s older works, Hans-Jürgen Hafner wrote, “On the one hand fattened to a wafting, psychedelically ambiguous surface, painterly idioms, on the other hand, come thrusting through this surface, racing against each other. Diverse semantic and motivic layers are sounding as if hidden behind semi-transparent curtains or belts of fog. Some of it we know from the past work of the artist, especially this curious bestiary of Dodos or monkeys, that Quabeck has been into for a long time.” (1)
An extinct animal like the Dodo takes on a symbolic quality if it appears in a painting. It is probably a manifestation of the conviction that everything lives on somewhere, and that art is a good habitat for bygones, bringing them back into focus and in the on-going discourse.(1) See Hans-Jürgen Hafner, Sour Milk, in the catalogue of Quabeck’s solo show 2011 at Samuelis Baumgarte Gallery(2) See Matt Hussey, Cornelius Quabeck, in: Amelia’s magazine, Issue 7, Summer 2007, pp. 68-69
Cornelius Quabeck, April 14, 2016 - April 17, 2016, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, ART COLOGNE 2016
Cornelius Quabeck, April 16, 2015 - April 19, 2015, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, ART COLOGNE 2015
Cornelius Quabeck, April 10, 2014 - April 13, 2014, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, ART COLOGNE 2014
Cornelius Quabeck. Final Times, Febr. 8, 2014 - April 12, 2014, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
Cornelius Quabeck, April 19, 2013 - April 22, 2013, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie, ART COLOGNE 2013
Cornelius Quabeck, Zwischen Geometrie und Abstraktion, Febr. 11, 2012 - March 24, 2012, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
Cornelius Quabeck, Charcoal Frost - Malerei, June 9, 2011 - August 31, 2011, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
Cornelius Quabeck, STRAHL DICH AUS!, Dec. 5, 2009 - Febr. 15, 2010, Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie
It ain\'t whatcha write, it\'s the way atcha write it, bis 01.10.2014, Manifesta Foundation, Amsterdam
Herz der Finsternis, verhudelt. Henrik Schrat & Gäste, 22.03.2014 - 17.08.2014, Kunstsammlung Jena, Jena
Schottenrock, 24.01.2013 - 03.03.2013, De Nederlandsche Bank, Amsterdam