FRANKFURT AM MAIN.-
The great philosophical questions are actually banal, says Goegel, because everyone asks them. In fact, the only reason they're considered 'great' is because everyone asks them. In the works of the Leipzig-based artist they are at any rate omnipresent: life and death, becoming and passing, accompanied by the whole panoply of human fears and needs and the states that summon them. They all take - in some cases drastic - shape here, but never in a way that would convey a moral judgement.
Goegel, who also draws, tattoos and sculpts, focuses mainly on creating forms. He then varies and experiments with these forms in a creative process that itself constitutes a kind of material for him, until he has managed to find a pictorial equivalent for the desired atmosphere or mood. What makes Goegel's works special is that most viewers intuitively recognize their themes, although they would be hard put to describe them.
With a combination of word and image - Goegel always give his works short and telling titles - the artist explains and interprets what is depicted. The fine, mocking humour that often shines through here can be read as a discreet hint to acknowledge the artist's inadequacies - but not to take them too seriously. The fact that Goegel doesn't think much of bombastic posturing is obvious both from his above remark on the 'great philosophical questions' and from the way he depicts his themes.
Just as one can articulate universal certainties using complex sentence structures in order to lend them an exalted gravity, it is also possible to exaggerate the pathos of basic truths using pictorial means. The chosen theme is then presented with a grand gesture and, most importantly, without any trace of irony. Not so with Goegel.
The rich formal variety and somberly glowing colours of some of his works do indeed make an opulent impression. But upon closer inspection, it becomes evident that these images instead represent extremely incisive metaphors for specific sensations, or that they convey communicative vibrations that are capable of evoking very concrete emotional associations in the respective viewer. It's an impression similar to when you wake up and can still clearly recall the basic feeling of a dream, but the 'story' has already faded.
This is what makes Sebastian Goegel's artworks as haunting as they are bewildering: primal fears, drives, predilections that we wouldn't dare to live out in our daily existence are given physical form in these pictures - in a thoroughly personal way for each of us. Because every viewer has his own experiences and conflicts, whose reverberations only he can recognize.
The exhibition runs from May 7 through June 26 at Galerie Adler