Storytelling. That’s the term with which we can describe this unique retrospective of German contemporary art. We find complex and fascinatingly interwoven stories in the favorite / preferred motifs of these seven rising artists which don’t only impress through their content but also their immaculate craftsmanship. Or as we say in German: With the right „Fingerspitzengefühl“. It is not a merely decorative art but a true inspiration if every sujet captures your imagination immediately.


Originally from Bielefeld, Svenja Maaß (39) studied Fine Arts in Braunschweig and is currently living in Hamburg. In her pictures and collages, Svenja Maaß knits together different elements that figure into complex wholes. Her protagonists are often animals, and in earlier works human beings. Unlike humans, animals cannot be identified according to clothing, jewellery and other formalities; they don’t obey such codes, and for Svenja Maaß are more original, timeless figures. The precisely drawn, partly surreal motives form bits of stories with open endings. Svenja Maaß uses different backgrounds – canvases, metal or even transparent parchment – which allows the subject to almost float in the picture. The complex images go against the audience’s expectation and are not easy to decipher spontaneously. Svenja Maaß describes her method as a process which forces her and us to rethink again and again. Only slowly are things allowed to grow together.


Timo von Eicken (38) was born in Hamburg and still lives in his city of origin which for him remains home and source of inspiration at the same time. Because friends always called him Nono, von Eicken who studied graphic design started his career under the pseudonyms Mr. Nonski and Nonski. His early work was based on strong graphical forms before he more recently turned to figurative painting. Today, his paintings often reflect the different phases of his oevre making the images both unique and expressive. Von Eicken produces large format collages of acrylic on canvas which tell intensive stories full of paradoxes: besides the graphical elements, it is mainly the attributes of the human beings which you would usually try to conceal that von Eicken focuses on.


Maxim Brandt’s paintings are like dreams. Working with topics from the real world, his subjects slide into the unconscious, invisible, opaque. The colourful innocence of the first glance is deceiving; the the uncanny is in the detail, in the bits which are not fully perceptible, in the moments that you can’t fully grasp. You wouldn’t want to wake up suddenly in one of Brandt’s worlds. The narratives or speculations develop without any effort while observing. In fact, Brandt himself is not interested in telling stories. He compares his work to writing a poem: it comes into existence through the composition of singular elements, in his case the assembly of photos which serve as models for his paintings. Maxim Brandt (30) grew up in the Eastern part of Ukraine. His fascination in Russian fairy tales, which he developed there, still inspire his work. After his studies in Kiel, Maxim Brandt lives and works in Berlin.


Dennis Busch cuts the world into fragments, mixes them up and creates a new, irrational reality. People, animals, symbols, historical artefacts, body parts and everyday objects – all taken from found photography – are cut out of their context, glued together, overwritten and put into a new conversation. Dennis Busch engages in the medium of collage to open up borders and trick time. Past, present and future are combined at will. Making collages comes naturally Dennis Busch. Lead by his scalpel, Dennis Busch is a mad surgeon who cuts the belly of society open. Without having a concrete result in mind, he plays with ideas of convention, beauty and order. He’s only finished once he’s satisfied with the chaos he creates. His montages are not products of pure randomness, however, but concentrated anarchy. Dennis Busch helps the world comment on itself through copying and pasting. Dennis Busch, born in 1971 in the Dutch town of Amstelveen, is artist, author, musician and producer. He lives in Ottersberg with his family.


Christian Achenbach’s work have no room for stillness. His paintings and installations are dominated by music and rhythm, driven by instruments, gramophones and dancing legs. Even more so, the arrangements are made up of abstract elements: bulky, delicate or snakey lines, interrupted by sharp, geometric forms or circles and dots. They intensify and expand, just as lively as the emerging arms and legs of the pieces. The colour contrasts do the rest: their movement and intensity opens the pictures as well as the narrative. Christian Achenbach (38) was born in Siegen and lives back in Berlin after spending a year in Copenhagen as an artist-in-residence. He studied at Universität der Künste, Berlin with Burkhardt Held, Daniel Richter and Anselm Reyle.


Rayk Goetze, born in Stralsung in 1964, started his career as a naval architect and marine diver. After German Reunification, he studied painting with Arno Rink and Neo Rauch in Leipzig, where he still lives and works. On his oftentimes large canvases, Rayk Goetze narrates stories made up of contrasts; abstraction and concreteness, emptiness and figuration, nudity and disguise, historical quotations and contemporary language. When he includes people, they stand out in between the patches of open space through their bodily presence. They become alive through the contrast of fine and pasty brush strokes, empty canvas and thick colour application with colours ranging from bright neons to heavy darks. The titles point the viewer into a direction without telling the full story.


Henning Kles’s paintings vary from series to series: at times they are bold, rough blacks and whites, sometimes fine, big formats filled from edge to edge with colourful content, at other times reduced, white works that slide into abstraction. Depending on the series, Kles uses bitumen, oil or acrylic combinations. The formal elements are held together through moments of dystopia and the uncanny, a recurring theme in Kles’s work, inspired by everyday observations and media. Kles borrows his protagonists from various sources: film, media, and even antique art. He filters them from their original context and develops a space for new associations through his paintings. Henning Kles (46) hasn’t left his home town, Hamburg; he works as artist and professor at the Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaft.