Hosfelt Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Stefan Kürten’s new paintings as a preview to his upcoming exhibition at the gallery.
Stefan Kürten’s paintings explore the complexities of our universal yearning for the ideal place to call home. His source material includes appropriated images from architecture and design magazines as well as photographs he has taken during his global travels. These become starting points for carefully constructed scenes whose idyllic environments belie their illusory promise of ultimate happiness.
The seductive fantasy of the good life takes a variety of forms. Mid-century-style homes in meticulously landscaped surroundings are adorned with iconic modern art and design objects. Charming cottages in bucolic environs suggest an escape to a simpler life. Swimming pools and palm trees evoke a relaxed lifestyle of golf-filled days and warm, cocktail-soaked nights. A soft, golden glow suffuses these settings (an effect achieved through metallic gold pigment in the foundational layers of the paintings), adding to their sense of harmony and richness.
There is a deceptive familiarity to Kürten’s depictions. They may seem at first like enviable places, but they become unsettling upon closer examination. Misshapen trees, apocalyptic skies, and precarious hillsides suggest a subtly sinister force at play. Dead grass and traces of graffiti conjure abandonment and decay. Rorschach-like reflections within the compositions signal a dizzying hallucination. Such unexpected disturbances expose darker truths underlying the emblems of Western prosperity.