Tilo Baumgartel, Jacob Hicks, Julius Hoffman, Francesc Ruiz Abad
Curated by Jacob Hicks
The Latin origins of the word monster, monere/monstrum, mean to portend and instruct. A monster’s instructive function is abundant within the span of Western mythos: do not be, do, go near, or engage. Interaction with this other is a form of becoming. Prophetic knowledge gained through forbidden interaction transforms the interactor beyond self-recognition, so the lure of the monstrous is its power to transform.
The monster is all things not yet mastered, and this wildness simultaneously seduces and repulses. To answer this paradox, culture, through transformative contact with the other, consumes what was once wild into established precepts of being. The monster, though, is an ancient portent revealing the illusion of domination and the limits of human understanding. Something will always be other, and that otherness will always be monstrous to cultural establishment.
The role of the artist is “other,” so he or she dresses in the skin of the monster. The artist’s role is to rail against the institutionalization of the human spirit, while teasing and seducing society with the luminous potentialities of moving closer to creative, social, and spiritual freedom.
The included artist’s images exist in the liminal space between transformative and seductive darkness. Such work is crucial in a time of global unrest in the form of great migrations due to dissatisfactions with “the other,” whom we brutalize because we fear. The artist’s attraction to the “monster” is the sticky cohesive between their oeuvres, as they paint what we fear.
Tilo Baumgartel (Leipzig, 1972) is a seminal painter of the well-known Neue Leipziger Schule. He has exhibited his work extensively throughout Europe and The United States.
Jacob Hicks (Midland, 1985) is a Brooklyn-based painter. His work has been exhibited throughout the East Coast and in Texas. Internationally Hicks has shown in Germany, Japan, and Spain. He is a painting assistant for artist Dustin Yellin and a freelance writer.
Julius Hoffman (Göttingen, 1983) is a painter and intermedia artist based in Leipzig, Germany. Hoffman has exhibited his art throughout Europe and Asia, and was a student under Neo Rauch. He is represented by Galerie Kleindienst in Leipzig, Germany.
Francesc Ruiz Abad (Palamos, 1990) is an interdisciplinary Spanish artist whose practice encompasses diverse conceptual project, publication, film, and painting. He has received several national grants, regularly holds lectures in Barcelona, and has exhibited his work internationally.