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Norbert Schwontkowski at the Kunstverein, Hamburg

In his drawings and paintings, Norbert Schwontkowski (who lives in Bremen and Berlin) does not explore the path to abstract visualization and instead has discernible objects and figures emerge from the foundation to the images he creates. He records the world and the seemingly vacuous side to everyday life in fragmentary excerpts, and on even the smallest of canvases proves to be a great storyteller. The focus is on human weaknesses and rashness, human inadequacies and the paralysis of existence, but often he also addresses the small moments of movements and happiness.

Schwontkowski’s works show us how the border line between fantasy and reality, between the past and the present is quite permeable. Space and time play an important role, here, with memories and perceptions melding. These artworks challenge viewers to activate their own experiences and memories: The artist hopes that his images will set in motion an "inner cinema" before our eyes, and indeed only personal references enable you to interpret the opacity and ambiguity with which Schwontkowski consciously imbues his images: "What we see looks out at us." Many of his images are defined by melancholy and yearning, and yet he forever undermines this with humor, such as arises first and foremost from the interaction of pictorial idea and work title.