He is one of Germany’s most important contemporary artists. Rainer Fetting. The Museum of Art and Cultural History Schloss Gottorf will honour him with the large special exhibition "Here are the lemons".
The comprehensive retrospective encompasses a total of 136 works – 60 paintings, 14 works in bronze as well as 62 sketches and graphic prints can be seen. With this, the exhibition provides a broad insight of Fetting’s wide-ranging and multifaceted works. Special emphasis is placed on a series of larger than life-sized portraits from recent years, which use several canvases and provide a monumental effect. They include the portrait of Desmond Cadogan “Here are the lemons” from 2015.
The beginnings: the Berlin “Moritzboys” the “New Wild”
Rainer Fetting, born in Wilhelmshaven in 1949, studied at the University of Arts in Berlin and was a co-founder and protagonist of the Berlin Moritz Square Gallery at the end of the 1970s, which was founded by a group of young artists who became known under the name of “New Wild”, “Young Wild” or also “Moritzboys”. Their paintings were emotional and direct, intense and very colourful and above all: figurative.
In 1978, Rainer Fetting moved to New York with a scholarship, where he plunged into a city which held completely new freedom and artistic inspiration ready. His international breakthrough was in 1981 with the exhibition “A New Spirit in Painting”, curated by Norman Rosenthal and Christos Joachimides in London. Individual exhibitions followed in the well-known London Anthony d’Offay gallery as well as at Mary Boone in New York.
Fetting’s major topics: human beings and their world
Rainer Fetting was represented at the eminent Zeitgeist exhibition in the Berlin Gropiusbau in Germany in 1982. In 1983, he returned to New York, where he lived for over ten years until 1994. A series of his well-known paintings from this period is shown in the exhibition. In addition to portraits of Desmond and other people, they include townscapes such as Men at the Pier, Figur und Hochbahn [Figure and an elevated railway] (van Gogh), Taxi with steam and green female or the famous punk club CBGB’s.
Since his return from New York, Rainer Fetting also paints on the island of Sylt. The sea’s natural force has always had a great appeal to him and provides him inexhaustible motifs for his paintings: the dunes or the momentum of the waves, surfers and ball game players or also the dredging vessels of Sylt.
Fetting’s major topics: human beings and their world connect here. In addition to the human figure and the portrait, landscapes in the broadest sense – city landscapes and the wall pictures from Berlin, city scenes from New York – play a central role. A separate chapter is dedicated to the famous Willy Brandt portrait from 1996 and the Helmut Schmidt portrait from 2006.
(Source: Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Schloss Gottorf: https://museum-fuer-kunst-und-kulturgeschichte.de/en/rainer-fetting)
(Rainer Fetting, Here are the lemons, Desmond Cadogan, 2015 © Rainer Fetting/ Foto: Katrin Hammer)