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René Luckhardt 'Kellerloch Paintings' opens at Autocenter contemporary art space
René Luckhardt, untitled, oil on canvas, 190 x 100 cm, before 2003. ©+ courtesy the artist.

BERLIN.- Prior to the official start of the Berlin Kunstherbst – held this year under the slogan “Painting Forever!” – Autocenter contemporary art space opened the solo exhibition Kellerloch Paintings by painter René Luckhardt on August 23, 2013.

The exhibition presents a selection of Luckhardt’s darkly atmospheric oil paintings from the period 2000-2010, many of which are shown to the public for the first time.

The Kellerloch Paintings are characterized by their unique surface structure, or pentimenti, achieved through the application of several coatings of paint and uniting multiple layers of images on a single surface, usually canvas. The paintings’ special materiality, and a color scheme situated somewhere between earthy and darkly occultish, intensify the effect of the scenarios they depict. We often see everyday scenes from early- to mid-twentieth century middle-class life transformed into an ominous visit to the subconscious peopled by enigmatic figures from a dream world.

“Kellerloch,” according to the artist René Luckhardt, “is a state you pass through as you move into another / new space, for example into a wonderland.”

The title Kellerloch Paintings derives its name from Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground (German: Aufzeichnungen aus dem Kellerloch). Reclusive figures from literature and art, such as Melville, Gauguin, Aleister Crowley, and Ludwig II find expression here. For a longer period of time, Luckhardt withdrew into an eremitic existence, creating his works based on countless photo albums from his own family as well as from unknown families that he had collected and archived. Both obsessive and direct, his paintings feature certain recurring characters. In their cryptic, almost mystical multiplicity they become agents of past and present.

In this retrospective exhibition, Luckhart restages his authentic sources with curatorial acumen. The visitor is invited to bear witness to this particular vision and atmosphere, and to delve into the otherworldly dimension of the “cellar hole.”

René Luckhardt was born in 1972 in Berlin. He received his M.A. in Fine Art Painting from Chelsea College of Art & Design London in 1996/97 and in 2010 founded the internationally recognized artist salon Wonderloch Kellerland.

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