The essence of Philipp Fröhlich’s artistic work is his devotion to the present-day relevance of painting as a medium, as is mirrored in its rich history. Texts of both poetic and journalistic nature often provide a point of departure for his suggestive tableaux, and he develops his practice of painterly associations accordingly, transforming existing words, sentences, and sounds into complex and labyrinthine visual dramas. Fröhlich frequently works in thematic series that investigate topics such as criminology or, most recently, children’s fairy tales from all over the world.
The artist employs the following method: he constructs models with which he explores possible motifs seen from various points of view and lighting situations. Both the photographs that he takes of the models and the models themselves are then used a source material for his painted interpretations. The more seductive the visual spaces seem at the beginning, the more expansive they become as multiperspective realms of visual experience. It is particularly Fröhlich’s dramaturgy of light and color as well as his choice of framing that articulate the artificiality of his painted compositions, producing visual puzzles that are balanced between reality and the reality of painting. Fröhlich uses genres and languages of classic art history with great detail and precision as a sort of quarry for his depictions of humans, animals, architecture, and landscapes.
Fröhlich confronts painting—whose death and resurrection have been repeatedly invoked like a mantra for decades—with the energy, bearing, and vision of a maverick. For him, pictures represent potential riddles as well as infinite interconnections with the world as both a counterpart and perpetual enigma that can be rediscovered over and over. By combining technical mastery with his distinct interpretations of structurally deceptive worlds of motifs, his canvases address universal themes with a contemporary complexity. Philipp Fröhlich (born 1975 in Schweinfurt, Germany) studied stage design under Karl Kneidl at the Düsseldorf Art Academy before changing from theater to independent painting twenty years ago. Fröhlich lives in Brussels since 2016.