Enigmatic objects, empty apartments and barren landscapes are recurring motifs in David Sprenger’s captivating acrylic paintings. Combining elements of both Surrealism and Minimalism, he conjures up dream-like worlds that draw the viewer in and make them wonder.
The self-taught artist was born in Liechtenstein and currently resides in Bogota, Colombia, where he takes inspiration from elements of the city he encounters in everyday life.
We interviewed the artist to learn more about his vision and his work.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. How do you choose your subjects?
A. Maybe they choose me? The only thing I know for sure is that rough ideas with specific key elements pop into my mind. These are subsequently discarded, postponed, resumed, modified, and refined in various orders.
Q. Your settings often have a barren and deserted feel to them - is there a reason you choose to depict them without people?
A. As humans, our perception naturally revolves around human thoughts, sensations, priorities and the ego. When painting, I therefore prefer to put objects in the foreground and mostly ban people and animals from the canvas. An exception are plants, which occasionally bestow some lively natural element on these empty, barren landscapes and outlandish constructs.
Q. Could you take us through your artistic process?
A. When observing landscapes or buildings in daily life, I often get ideas for my paintings. Certain perspectives, shadows that are cast at a specific time of day, the weather or the season, and unusual or interesting structural details, all make up excellent raw material.
I then create a small, rough model on paper and transfer the draft onto the canvas with rulers and pencil. Now the most beautiful part of the work begins: masking the shape with adhesive tape, colouring and then peeling off the tape. Bit by bit the overall picture builds up, revealing new impressions every time. The end result will almost never be exactly as it was initially planned. Sober work planning meets spontaneous improvisation for me.
If my pictures stimulate the viewer to reflect, wonder and ponder, then the painting would have fulfilled its purpose.
Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?
A. I would not want to "dictate" the viewer's thoughts. If my pictures stimulate the viewer to reflect, wonder and ponder, then the painting would have fulfilled its purpose.
Q. What other creatives inspire you?
A. On the one hand, I am interested in old surrealist masters like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Yves Tanguy or Kay Sage. On the other hand, I am fascinated by the straightforwardness of minimalism and its many subcategories. You could perhaps say that I try to bring elements of both surrealism and minimalism into my work.
Q. Could you describe your work in 3 words?
A. Strange - Deep - Scenic