December 6, 2021

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Für das Gemälde

Painter Werner Buetner – retired “wild young man”

Werner Buettner in conversation with Lianne von Bellerbeck

The painting “Rosenscharmützel” from 2007 is part of a retrospective exhibition at Hamburger Art Hall. (Werner Büttner / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 / Photo: Egbert Haneke)

Werner Büttner has been stirring up the art establishment with provocative images since the 1980s. For 32 years he also taught as an art professor in Hamburg. As a deposit, the Kunsthalle Hamburg dedicates a retrospective to it: the “Last Lecture Show”.

Painter Werner Büttner retires to a major gallery in the Hamburger Kunsthalle – at least in connection with his professor at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, where he taught for 32 years.

Retroactively “Last lecture show” At the Hamburger Art Gallery, it shows the work of the painter who began with Albert Olin and Martin Kippenberger to excite the bourgeois art scene in the early 1980s. Buettner ridiculed the establishment and its prevailing taste for art with idiotic images on disturbing subjects such as “The Problems of Miniature Golf in European Painting”.

Das Gemälde The painting “Dasein wants Paarsein” wasn’t created until 2019 (Werner Büttner / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 / Photo: Egbert Haneke)

He does so to this day: whether it is the supposed ideal of marital mutualism, which ends up in two empty human shells, whether it is complete alienation through labor and consumption or the satirical refugee policy – in large-scale paintings and small collages, the artist. Analyzes the values ​​and promises of salvation for capitalist society, and exposes its falsehood.

The Political Mistake of the Eighties

These are pictures that suggest the political error of the eighties, and it hurts. They must also:

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“How I get hurt is irrelevant at first. The main thing is that it hurts! This is a situation from the 80s … I think this is a very important aspect now,” said the director of Hamburger Kunsthalle, Alexander Klar, who organized the exhibition.

Artist Werner Buetner stands among the C-Print in the Dominican Church in Osnabrück Werner Buettner participates in his 2016 exhibition “Compromat”. In his portraits, made with collages and prints, as well as in his oil paintings, the painter interacts in a subversive way with the informative expressions of the people. (dpa/Friso Gench)

“There was resistance! And that’s something we almost have to learn again. Most of the work goes back to the past 10 years, but the gesture, the attitude and the way Werner Buettner approaches the topics are all really different from today.”

“Today there are no pictures of the enemy”

The younger generation of painters is also different, believes Buettner, whose students include Daniel Richter, Jonathan Mays and Rocco Chamonix:

“At least they are no longer the bundle of jobs that we and others formed at the time. This is of course a bit of a shame, because when you crawl into the group you increase your chances of being heard and being noticed.” Butner.

“I’m afraid this is simply because young people today lack the enemy images we had back then and that’s why they don’t sound as loud as we did back then.”

“Definitely worth seeing,” art critic Annette Schneider says of the exhibition “The Last Lecture Show.” Listen to the full review here: [AUDIO]

The artist says in an interview with Deutschland Funk Kultur that he uses stylistic tools such as satire, satire and sometimes sarcasm, and this may lead to a misunderstanding that he does not take art seriously. “But I also have other things in my repertoire, like moving pieces or making bid requests. I have to take my job seriously and that’s what I do.”

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“Art doesn’t have to be a thing”

However, Buettner does not see art’s commitment to social engagement:

“She can interfere, but she doesn’t have to do anything,” he asserts. “When I take pictures that are considered time-critical, I also make sure that they are timeless, and that they simply reflect the human condition, the conditions and existence of human beings.”

paintings The painter also executes his resignation in “Boettner departs from the painting”. (Werner Büttner / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021 / Photo: Egbert Haneke)

For example, a painting by Battner showing a cinema with empty armchairs is not a comment on the cultural landscape: “It means ‘Why don’t you die?'” ‘, Bottner explains. ‘Isn’t that a nice little question: Why isn’t humanity already extinct?’

“I hope retirement doesn’t hurt me so badly”

Even after art professor Buttner retires, he will of course continue as an artist, saying, “What’s left for me? Today has 24 hours and you have to occupy yourself somehow.” An exhibition in Beijing and an exhibition on Long Island are scheduled for next year. “I hope retirement doesn’t hurt me so badly.”