Shadowtime by painter Stefan Kürten is a co-production between the RHA, Dublin and the Kunstmuseum, Krefeld, Germany. In a new series of work, specially created for this exhibition, Kürten explores ideas of domestic utopias as expressed in suburban architecture and interior design. His paintings ‘reveal the yearning for warmth and comfort that exists amid the inhospitality of the provincial town, and describes the little ways people escape from everyday life.’ (Martin Hentschel, 2007)
Kürten’s works are distinguished by a striking tonality that is achieved through the use of a gold or silver base coat at the beginning of each painting. Images of suburban houses, gardens and yards such as Spellbound and Weites land are outlined in black before the different elements are painted in. Increasingly the artist has also used the repeating pattern of domestic wallpaper or carpet in his paintings, the contrasting flourishes accentuating the rigid lines of the suburban home.
Patrick T. Murphy adds: ‘Kürten does not vilify or condemn the bourgeois domestic but rather attempts a compassionate understanding of the lives that occupy and perpetuate it. He admits that the work is about happiness, its gain and loss, its illusion and reality. Architecture, the crucible of the body, the family, the wider social unit, is core to his practice – not the architecture of signature design but the prosaic, of ordinary houses and urban streets. Kürten’s nature is also domestic, its trees, shrubs, and plants an extension of interior design.’
Kürten was born in Düsseldorf in 1963. He studied Philosophy and English at the Heinrich- Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf before completing an MA at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Art Institute, San Francisco. Recent exhibitions include Dream Maker (2005) at the Galerie Michael Cosar, Düsseldorf, Green Carpet (2006) at the Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco and Bad Moon Rising (2006) at the Alexander and Bonin Gallery, New York.
A full colour hard back catalogue, printed by Druck & Verlag, accompanies this exhibition. With essays by Patrick T. Murphy, RHA Director & Martin Hentschel, Director of Kunstmuseum Krefeld.