Shortlisted artist Juergen Wolf tells us about his small scale paintings, his interest in art history, and being shortlisted for Young Masters 2014…

 What is it about Young Masters that you are most interested in?

I am interested in the art historical past and the Old Masters and the ability to combine them with contemporary art and philosophy. Therefore one of my heroes and idols is Pierre Klossowski.

Can you explain to us what your work is about?

Like a kaleidoscope, my works reflect different facets of life’s adventures. Ilook ironically at icons, moments of luck, of sadness, impressions of historical and political reality and fragments of the mental abyss. My picture stories are compiled from all walks of human experience. They are assembled without hierarchy and thus grant a special importance to each singular moment. Clichés from past decades are standing beside still lives, sweet, idyllic moments mix with absurd and elegant interiors. The works continuously cast doubt on the absolute terms of an idealistic philosophy – the good, true and beautiful.

In my paintings I refer again and again to idealism, German romanticism and the essence of beauty itself. My relation to the painters of the romantic period grows out of an intensive development of subjectivity, which then leads to a critical and emotional experience with my environment. This relationship expresses itself in the ambivalence between the need for opposition and the love of tradition. My pictures are thus reflections of a painter’s spirit close to romanticism but within current surroundings.  This creates the opportunity to display lascivious as well as surrealistic experiences, all still depicted naturally and still opening the box for further liberation.”

Which artist/s are you most inspired by?

Carl Spitzweg, Pierre Klossowski and Caspar David Friedrich.

Can you tell us something about your background?

During my studies of Catholic Theology my involvement with art had already been on a par.  I wrote my thesis in Catholic Dogmatics about a contemporary artist who later on became my teacher. The spiritual way of theology was followed by a spiritual way into art. In art I saw a greater freedom to deal with the important things in life.

 What inspired you to become an artist?

During my two-year long thesis in Catholic Theology about the contemporary artist Robert Hoefling I got inspired by him to become an artist myself.

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A married Catholic Priest

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?

That I still have the feeling that I have not yet painted everything and that I could still write many more books.

 What are your plans for the future?

Paint, paint, paint, write, write, write, and maybe paint a miraculous painting☺.