Sebastian Gögel, Grote straat (Large Straight / Great Street); Hoorn & Reniers, The Hague

German painter Sebastian Gögel (1978) presently has a show at Hoorn & Reniers.

Undeniably Gögel is a painter in the German tradition (which is a much longer and richer tradition than most Dutch art viewers seem to realise).

Painting itself in Europe is an act in which tradition weighs heavily on one’s shoulders.

So if you really want to be a good painter you must take that for granted, whether you like it or not.

Gögel seems to be well aware of that; he survives it and builds his own work on top of it.

His work has very much matured since it was last seen in this city about a decade ago.

Some echoes of the Neuen Wilden of around 1980 are clear in this exhibition, also in his combining of the figurative and the abstract.

But there is a big difference as the sense of life has changed radically since the 1980s.

Today we live in a post-almost-everything culture in which Gögel has chosen to fly the banners of painting, not to be stubbornly traditional or to vehemently jump on the brakes of time, but clearly because it is (probably at least to him) the self-evident way of expression.

The German aspect is especially in the constant battle between content and composition, between imagination and expression.

There are some exceptionally fine portraits on show, but the exhibition on the whole has a lot more to offer, so it is warmly recommended as far as i’m concerned.

© Villa Next Door 2019

Contents of all photographs courtesy to Sebastian Gögel and Hoorn & Reniers, Den Haag

Bertus Pieters

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