The latest series of works by German artist Jochen Mühlenbrink comprises paintings and mixed-media artworks that exist as a study of windows. His hyper-realistic oil on canvas works depict his philosophical approach to painting, where themes of perspective, imagination, escapism, and secrecy converge.
With this collection of works, Mühlenbrink is investigating the ambiguity of reality through an execution of natural optical effects in paint. His fogged window panes with figures and illustrations seemingly drawn out of condensation, for example, are in reality oil on canvas and exist both through the illusion they produce, and the material of which they consist. “These fogged windows are a balance between a celebration of painterly illusion and dystopian iconoclasm,” explains the artist to IGNANT. “The fog panes—with their pristine surfaces disturbed by finger marks—at once become images-within-images, and demonstrate what can be seen through them.”
When viewing Mühlenbrink’s work, one is reminded of the innocence and inventiveness of childhood; sitting in the back of a foggy car and drawing different scenes on the car window. With this technique, we are given a glimpse of what lies beyond the fog: colorful suburban houses give his paintings two areas of focus. In other works, the artist has painted windows to look as if he has formed them from tape, when in actual fact these too are oils painted on canvases. The tension his paintings produce disrupts our preconceived idea of reality: we see what looks like an illusion, but we simultaneously know that what has been created is from pure paint.