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METAPHYSISCHE STILLEBEN
Artworks from the exhibition 30 April — 21 May 2011
Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney

An exhibition of 20 drawings.

The artist compensates for certain shortcomings in social behaviour through his work. What he sacrifices for the sake of his work — and this is generally infinitely much more than what the nice average citizen would be capable of sacrificing — benefits everybody.
Hermann Hesse, in a letter from 1961

Where art is concerned, I know that, just as in any time in the past, every true poem or painting, every measure of true music is paid for in equal measure with life, with suffering, with blood.
Hermann Hesse, in a letter from 1932

Flinders Street gallery presents an elegant, cerebral collection of Schranzer’s drawings in Metaphysische Stilleben, a title originating after Carrà’s and de Chirico’s Pittura Metafisica. Diverse forms and themes taken from the biological and physical sciences, psychoanalysis, art history, literature, and Pandeistic philosophy are spun together in a ‘super-‘ and ‘beyond-natural’ fabric (Greek meta, “beyond/after”, physika, “physics/nature”). Objects morphed or displaced from their original contexts and arranged in new spatial and metaphoric relationships — removed from the ordinary world pointing "to a higher, more hidden state of being" (Carrà), and evoking the strange, inexplicable, and mysterious — are presented in calm tableaux aligned to both Metaphysical and Oriental art or, conversely, are amalgamated into pasticci more awkward, crowded, and operatic. Though spatial ambiguities are apparent in all Schranzer’s drawings, these ‘busier’ works are made more disorientating by their extreme combinations of viewpoint, orthographic and oblique projection, and converging perspective. By logical extension, the drawings reveal his interest in the impossible figures of perceptual psychology, and the world of reflectaphors, similarity and ‘otherness’ (John Briggs’ thesis on the structure of artworks, based on physicist David Bohm’s theory of implicate/explicate order). One spies references to Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, Van Eyck’s Portrait of a Man in a Turban, Titian’s Man with a Glove, de Chirico’s glove in The Song of Love, Max Ernst’s Loplop persona, Uccello’s Vase in Perspective, sitting alongside mechanical detritus, the labyrinthine curves of inner ears, the calabi-yau forms of Super-String theory, and the shame masks and medieval helmets from the Rüstkammer collections of Europe. Not unexpectedly, the phallus raises its head! Man is treated as a mannequin or manichino, a faceless doll in full armour, or as a political ambassador literally ‘dick-headed’ — pollinated by the hands of Arcimboldo, Bellmer and Magritte. Elsewhere, flayed penises morph into vases of columbines and strelitzias, bringing to mind the extraordinarily crammed and superficial floral arrangements found in 17th century Dutch painting as well as Breton’s thesis that “Beauty should be convulsive, or not at all.” The penis is drawn in an anatomically winged form that clearly links the bird with magic, sexuality, innocence, potency and virility, drawing upon Greek and Roman representations, 16th to 18th century allegorical painting (Jean Baptist Grueze comes to mind), and 20th century Surrealism. Clearly, such fantastic distillations are evidence of an expanded, abundant — even tortured — faculty of imagining!


KURT SCHRANZER

Metaphysisches Stilleben (A Horse, A Horse, My Kingdom for a Horse)
2010, ink and collage on paper, 76 x 56 cm
Signed and inscribed reverse with title, date, catalogue no. MMXXXXII
Provenance: Collection the Artist
Exhibited: 2011 FSG Composite, Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney. 2011 Metaphysische Stilleben, Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney. 2013 Kurt Schranzer & Terry Burrows: Spirit & Flesh, The University Gallery, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW.

© Kurt Schranzer 2011

 

 

 

   
       
       
NOTE: Due to the low resolution of computer screens, the lines of these drawings may present as slightly pixelated. A 'jagged' quality will be particularly evident on some diagonals and curves; fine black ink lines will appear faint and tend towards grey on screen.