Still Wild – Really, Really Wild – After All These Years

By Neil Karbank

After lovely, soft, delightful days in The Hague and along the Dutch coast, we went to Groningen, to see some kind of music and performance festival (and in any event I’d long wondered what Groningen was like), and there we stumbled onto a paintings show at The Groninger Museum that is, as of today, and by joyful acclamation, The Best Paintings Show We’ve Seen Since We Arrived In Europe. It was a big show of paintings by the “New Wild Painters” . . . the German figurative Neo-Expressionist painters of of the late 1970’s and 1980’s.

WOW!  Within one minute the show just bowled us over: its energy, the paintings’ raw power, the action, the rough play and rough sex; the caustic humor, the blood, biting social commentary; dystopian landscapes, post-apocalyptic industrial landscapes, bizarre figures, gnashing expressions, explosive brush strokes and fantastic, splashing color, then finally a kind of soft and gentle dreamland.  Big, big  paintings.  To call it Neo-Expressionism just does not do it justice. It’s just plain wild. And great.

Here are some of my favorites . . . just a few of the many, many pictures in this huge exhibition of paintings, all of which seem to be from German or Dutch museums or private collections.

I just don’t know what to say beyond that.  Other than Bravo! to the Groninger Museum and Bravo! to the Stadel Museum in Frankfurt for jointly curating and organizing the show.  Bravo!


Helmut Middendorf, Singer (1981).  On the cover of the exhibition catalog.  For good reason . . . .


Walter Dahn, Birth of The Mulheimer Freiheit (1981)


Martin Kippenburger, Two Proletarian Women Inventors On Their Way To The Inventors’ Congress (1984).  So much for Social Realism . . . .


Peter Angermann, Salle Valley (1979).  The sign reads “The USSR and the DDR [German Democratic Republic [East Germany] shall always have an eternal friendship bond”.  That’s why there are walls … of course.  Walls to maintain the integrity of countries that no longer exist . . . .


Albert Oehlen, Untitled (1982).


Bettina Semmer, Cow (1983)


Walter Dahn, Self-Double (1982)


Georg Herold, Brick Nigger (1981)


Ina Barfuss, Untitled (1982)


Salome, Bleeding (1979)


Werner Buttner, Please Wake At 8:00 p.m. (1982)


Milan Kunc, Nice Living (Nomenclature) 1979


Werner Buttner, Vandalized Telephone Booth (1982)


Rainer Fetting, First Wall Picture (1977)


Albert Oehlen, Fuhrerhauptquartier (1982)


Helmut Middendorf, Bridge House, Blue Green (1979)


Albert Oehlen, Down With The Ordinary Long-Nosed Weevil (1980)


Andreas Schulze, Untitled With Quail (1983)

After all of the chaos, this weird but wonderful, softly-colored picture seems to portray a parallel world . . . one in which quail, of all things, play a prominent role.  (Think  that one over . . . .)  What does it mean?  I have absolutely no idea.  But it was gorgeous.

NDK 9-14-16


Author: gnadventuresineurope

Neil and Gretchen are living and traveling in Europe for a year. They will be blogging their journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: