The painting of Maxim Gunga

“Uber home” is the name of one of Maxim Gunga’s pictures. Four exalted creatures try to squeeze into a car, the driver looks somewhat horrified. We can only speculate where they come from, it could be one of the legendary Berlin clubs – or the eighties. But the Uber refers to a current motif, and Gunga was born in 1994.

The young, currently very successful painter visibly revives the neo-expressionism of Rainer Fetting or Salomé. In his exhibition at the Robert Grunenberg Gallery, the time before the fall of the Wall seems to resonate: Berlin becomes an explosively colorful backdrop for nighttime excesses and every figure in these scenes becomes a visual fascination. Images like “CK down coat on the flow” from 2019 take the desire for ambiguity to the extreme: the fluffy figure with its high red boots and the chalky white face could also come from the theater.

Volts of creativity

But then there are everyday moments in the work of the young Berlin artist. “Ubahn is drivin” (2022) is the result of his trips to Weißensee, where Gunga’s studio was for a while. The way he experiences the colorfully mixed community squeezed together in the wagon for a short time is a volte of creativity and imagination. Gunga sees colors, shapes, structures and uses them to put together a Berlin panorama. People in the big city, anonymous and yet intertwined. “There are no clear hierarchies here between inner and outer experience, body and soul, civilization and wilderness,” writes Oliver Koerner von Gustorf in a text accompanying Gunga’s exhibition. This statement can be experienced directly in Gunga’s spectacular solo show.

By Editor

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