At a time when the portrait as a genre is being extensively explored through various means of expression thanks to the new media, outstanding artistic works are somewhat of a rarity. Despite this excessive exploration however, the actual subject of the self in the portrayal of the face continues to be popular. In this regard, Peintre X has found his own memorable form of expression. His portrait interpretations obscure and exaggerate at the same time. The individuals depicted in the portraits wear masks or hats, or are given encoded typographies or are simply upside down. If one so wishes, one can explore the artist’s sensuous playing with quotations from great creative personalities such as the enfant terrible of the art scene Damien Hirst or the extremes of exploratory performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Socially critical tones can also be found in the artist’s work where it makes reference, for example to the newspaper cuttings of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo or the terrorist attacks in Paris. But in the end, it is the artist’s desire to direct the observer’s attention back to his own world of ideas and emotions – an aspect which also demonstrates his retreat behind art through his chosen pseudonym.
The effect of his works can be emotionally experienced in two respects – through form and colour as well as through the figuratively portrayed individual in itself. The animated brushstrokes, in which the pastose application of colour evokes the power of the subject, the almost expressionistically contrasting impact of the colour worlds, and the expression of the portrayed faces’ gaze all contribute to an inner experience of the portraits. In the process, Peintre X stimulates all the senses by suggestively evoking the taste of a banana, for example, or by touching upon the feeling of transition from cold to hot. His pictorial-pastose means of expression, which is permeated by drawing elements, remains figurative despite its dynamic form – and maintains an alienating distance from reality through its slight distortion of perspective. In his series of animal masks, Peintre X combines his powerful brushwork style with an application of fine and clear colour accents whose shapes display cubist tendencies. Recurring elements, neon tubes and the depiction of everyday objects (as illustrated, for example, in his Candy series) bring him closer to the Pop Art notion of a pleasure-oriented society of mass consumption.
This painter’s works are full of allusions and rich in the most diverse forms of depiction. Evoking all the senses and in a fleet-footed way, Peintre X operates in the genre of figurative painting. The choice of a proximally selected segment invites the observer to venture into the world of the portrayed self and, in doing so, focuses the observer’s attention straight back on himself. The complex subject of the contemporary human being, the hard and soft tones of society – all of this resonates and, through the subtle alienation of the composition and perspective and the frequent use of pastel-coloured backgrounds, receives a simplified quality and a trivialising sweetness, which nonetheless does not lose its disharmonious tone. With his portrayal of the self, Peintre X addresses the socio-cultural complex surrounding the subject in his environment and deploys masking and exaggeration to display the ambivalent tendencies of human existence. ”
Bio by Saskia Rode M.A.
His subjects are intentionally striking and distorted as Peintre X focuses on emphasizing their eyes, red lips, and high foreheads. The artist uses the socio-cultural references to depict the ambivalent tendencies of human existence forever lingering between the deep skepticism and never-ending hope. Though they often incorporate the images of celebrated artists like Marina Abramovic and Damien Hirst or pop culture characters such as Batman artworks made by Peintre X always reflect back on the artist by portraying his own world full of intriguing ideas and intense emotions. Apart from his striking portraits the artist is also known for his nipple medallions that he continuously hangs on the facades over the globe. The artist celebrated nipple installations evoke the sensation of intimacy and vulnerability that’s often highlighted in juxtaposition with the harsh reality of the surrounding space.
Peintre X is known for his small water colors that are framed and attached to walls in different public places. Next to it, a passerby can find a QR code which is connected to the artist’s homepage and discover a whole new artistic universe. Art by Peintre X can be explored both trough the characters he portrays and his use of colors and light. The artist skillful use of layers and energetic brushstrokes powerfully convey the inner quality of the objects he paints such as a taste of a banana or a transition from hot to cold. This portrayal of inner qualities is best depicted in his powerful portraits that depict the characters of people behind the disguise. The individuals depicted in his works are as mysterious as the artist himself often hidden behind a variety of superhero masks and hats or, at times, simply turned upside down to make their identification more difficult for the viewers. And yet they seem strangely familiar like looking at someone we used to know or maybe someone we once wished to be.
Peintre X is a graffiti and street artist from Munich, Germany, best known for his intricate portraits and intimate medallions that are hanged up anonymously in the streets, returning art to the community which inspired it in the first place. In the time when the art of portraiture is so omnipresent, that it has become almost impossible to create pieces that are original and unique, artist Peintre X has found an artistic language that makes his multifaceted portrait stand out above all the rest. His distorted depictions of both real and fictional characters obscure and emphasize at the same time, always leaving the viewer wanting more.
Peintre X is influenced by a variety of sources. He is inspired by an array of prominent contemporary artists ranging from Max Beckmann and Damien Hirst to the queen of performance art Marina Abramovic. His fascination with these contemporary greats is quite bluntly portrayed in his works whether trough intricate quotes like “life is not always a Damien Hirst” or trough a set of specially designed artworks like The artist is not present series of prints dedicated to Marina Abramovic. The elements of Cubism are visible in his celebrated animal masks series where he employed vivid brushstrokes and clear color accents to involve the distorted aesthetics in his figurative paintings. His exploration of pop culture, consumerism, and everyday objects add elements of Pop art to his work.