A great painterly talent
The native Neubrandenburger painter Sebastian Menzke (born 1979) studied Product Design at the University of Technology and Design in Wismar, and has been based in Berlin since 2012. His studio – a tidy, clearly structured space – is on the first floor of an old army barracks in the secluded, peaceful quarter of Schöneweide, far from the hustle and bustle of the capital's centre. It is here that Sebastian Menzke is able to concentrate on his work. Hanging on one wall is a primed canvas, while on the other hangs a nearly finished work, so large is barely fits into the room. This monumental work will be displayed in the Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg - as he had wanted - in his debut museum exhibition opening in September.
As an adolescent Menzke was a graffiti artist before switching in 2000 to painting with oils, something he has remained true to through to the present day. Initially inspired by the Impressionists, he graduated to names such as Franz Gertsch, Gerhard Richter and Peter Doig to Matthias Weischer, who achieved fame as part of the Neue Leipziger Schule (New Leipziger School). Weischer and Menzke later got to know each other at the salondergegenwart ('saloncontemporary') in Hamburg. The gallery exhibited not only well-known artists but also the promising, rising newcomer Sebastian Menzke, who mixed amongst more established names such as Iris Schmomaker, Julian Khol or Olaf Holzapfel. Further influences have been artists like Anselm Kiefer, Dana Schatz and Gert & Uwe Tobias as well as the longstanding cooperation with his 'home' gallery, Galerie Kristine Hamann. Gallerist Hamann and Menzke have been a steadfast team since 2011 – all decisions, including exhibitions, are made collectively.
The former young (graffiti-)artist has developed into a contemporary painter who via his profound skill and topical relevance has aroused interest and attention both from other artists and gallerists as well as collectors. Even when his subjects seem to change, it is apparent that the Berlin-based painter's oeuvre is interrelated. His disparate series of works, e.g. the current body part pictures or those using epoxy resin, by turns representational and abstract, both build upon and are in a formal sense related to one another.
His immense talent has not only been recognised by artist's scholarships from the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Westpomerania and the Foundation for Art Funding in Bonn, but also in winning the 2016 Kunstpreis der Kulturstiftung der Sparkasse Karlsruhe (Art Prize of the Karlsruhe Sparkasse Bank's Art Foundation). From amongst 700 works submitted by national and international artists, Sebastian Menzke was awarded first prize by a renowned jury including Professor Götz Adriani of the Academy of Plastic Arts in Karlsruhe and the Director of the State Art Musuem Karlsruhe, Professor Pia Müller-Tamm.
"There’s a certain sense of mystery that resides within the images that Sebastian Menzke created for the exhibition Good News and it acts as a leitmotif in his work. This can be partially explained by the fact that certain content is lost in translation over the course of several centuries. At a time when it has become common for artists to work with a variety of found material, Sebastian Menzke utilizes this enigmatic quality and the questions that arise within the viewer in order to entice us to search, to contemplate, to form alternating hypotheses. Similar to an essay wri- ter, he takes us on a serpentine path, allowing us to make a wide range of associations. He creates variables, tells stories that have an open end. With the painting hieronymus, whether or not we think of current sociopolitical situations is left up to us. He tells a kaleidoscopic variety of stories in one image and o ers the mature viewer the choice of which storyline to latch onto and contemplate further. Just as these narratives are open, so is the exhibition title Good News. What good news does the artist have for us? This broadens the scope of contemplation, which is exactly what is important for Menzke and what he forces us to do."
Exhibition in the »Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg« His first museum exhibition will take place in his hometown in the Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg, where his will be displaying current works. The exhibition opens on Wednesday, September 13th at 6pm at the Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg, Große Wollweberstraße 24. Mayor of Neubrandenburg, Silvio Witt, will address attendees along with an introduction by Elke Pretzel of the Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg and music from Berliner Tobias Purfürst. A monographic catalogue entitled »GOOD NEWS« will also be available.
»Roten Kunstsalon« in the Museum »Villa Rot«
Between October 12th-15th Galerie Kristine Hamann will be displaying the artist Sebastian Menzke as part of the des Roten Kunstsalons in the Museum for Contemporary Art Villa Rot in Burgrieden-Rot (Upper Swabia). Under the direction of art historian Stefanie Dathe – subsequently Director at the Museum of Ulm - Villa Rot gained a name amongst critics, collectors and art lovers as an exhibition space for international contemporary art with intercultural objectives. Galerie Kristine Hamann was invited by the museum with twelve other galleries to exhibit there. Alongside Sebastian Menzke the gallery will be presenting works by fellow painter Rayk Goetze (Leipzig) und photographic artist Kirk Sora (Berlin/Wismar).