Martin Dammann

Born in Friedrichshafen in 1965, is a painter and photo and video artist. He lives and works in Berlin.

"Martin Dammann and the hard-hitting watercolour" was the title of an exhibition review from a few years back. In his paintings, the artist combines maximum pastel-coloured fragrance ...

... with drastic motifs, including images of war, fear and naked life. While a collection of photographs was often the starting point for carefully calculated watercolours in the past, the large-format seascape created for ROHKUNSTBAU is based on an inner image. Dammann cites the keywords "thrownness, instability, disorientation and ambivalence". Seascapes are a traditional genre of art history with prominent examples by artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, Édouard Manet and Gerhard Richter. Seas appear silent, agitated or frozen. Such works are often a metaphor for life-and-death struggles or mankind's ambivalent relationship to nature.
The three-part work entitled "From Water in Water to Water" shows human bodies from the perspective of a fish. The contrasting choreography of light, shadow and moving limbs is reminiscent of ceiling paintings in baroque cathedrals. Associations of War in Heaven are evoked if the subject is inverted. A strong yet hidden light source shines from below on kicking legs, while the colour scheme darkens towards the top, giving the impression of a dramatic nocturnal scene.
Reflecting on current social developments, "what happens and how to find it," according to Dammann, forms the spiritual focus of his water study. The work inevitably has the viewer in mind of boat people in the 21st century, alongside a wealth of other readings.

Solo Exhibitions (a selection)
2017 Kein schöner Land, Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin, Germany
2015 Zum Resultat beruhigter Tumult, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Germany
2009 Fremde Freunde, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Germany
2005 Vanishing Point, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria

Group Exhibitions (a selection)
2015 Fire and Forget. On Violence, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany
2013 Donation Florence et Daniel Guerlain, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2013 Goodbye Paradise – Landschaftsbilder gestern und heute, Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Germany
2000 Elisabetta Benassi and Martin Dammann, Museum of Modern Art, PS1, New York, USA