Lothar Hempel

A Growing Number | London, South Kensington | printed paper collage and vinyl on card | 25.1 x 20 cm.

“[Hempel’s work] has a frozen and pristine quality arising from a tension between the equal forces of attraction and estrangement.”

Laura Schleussner, Flash Art International

Working across a wide range of media, Lothar Hempel stages elaborate theatrical possibilities, creating space for the viewer to act as an autonomous character engaging in his constructed dramas. In his paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs and installations, his figures often possess a mythic, anthropological quality, taking forms in turns stylish and grotesque, caricatured and transcendent. The work verges upon a kind of Pop Art Surrealism that unifies much of his work aesthetically, finding conceptual company among the “dream plays” of August Strindberg, or the “distancing” of Bertolt Brecht. As Claire Moulène wrote for ArtForum in 2007, “Hempel’s pieces seem to be both character and setting, and viewers wander through his installations as though in a theater of appearances.”

Born in Cologne, Germany, Hempel studied at the Kunstakademie, in Dusseldorf, Germany, from 1987 to 1992, his tenure there bookending the reunification of Germany. Success and recognition came swiftly. By the end of 2013, his work had been the subject of nearly 50 solo exhibitions around the world, at locations including Anton Kern Gallery, in New York (which represents him); the Institute of Contemporary Art, in London; Art Basel, Miami Beach; the Centre National d’Art Contemporain, in Grenoble, France; London’s Stuart Shave Modern Art gallery; and Dublin’s Douglas Hyde Gallery.

Since 1992, Hempel’s work has also appeared in more than 160 group shows, from P.S. 1, in New York, to the Saatchi Gallery, in London, to the Centre Pompidou, in Paris, to the 1993 Venice Biennale. He lives and works in Berlin.

Additional Sources:

Anton Kern Gallery

L. Schleussner, "Lothar Hempel,"
Flash Art International 43, 2010, p. 112.
C. Moulène, "Lothar Hempel",
ArtForum, July, 2007
P. Erkoth, "Critics' Pick",
ArtForum.com, March 6, 2007, web

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