Tilo Baumgärtel’s multi-dimensional works are dreamlike scenes that move the viewer from the subconscious to his conscious imagination. His complex work penetrates several dualities: connectivity and isolation, temporality and permanence, personal narrative and national history. Baumgärtel’s departure point is his sketch book from which he transfers pastiches of received ideas onto paper or canvas. His surreal tableaus are often tinged with melancholy and pose an unsettling sense of impending violence. In Johann a LaDanse-like nocturnal scene is rudely interrupted by a shadowy male figure which simultaneously inspires notions of loneliness and displacement. Baumgärtel’s narratives are difficult to decipher – although the scene is familiar, the story does not add up. Often his works on canvas are bathed in a peculiar dark-room quality light adding to a sense of the uncanny. In Der Pfad two girls share a personal moment while a third is suspended Houdini-like in the air beside them. Baumgärtel frequently underlines his fragmented narratives with complicated compositional decisions and lets a unsettling light/dark contrast highlight the physicality of nature. In Gesang a maiden-like figure communes with birds and plants in an eerie sunset scenario powerfully incarnating the mysterious and vernacular aura of ancient folk tales and legends.
Tilo Baumgärtel studied at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig (1991-98). In 1998-2000 he was “Meisterschüler” under Professor Arno Rink. In 2000 he organized and founded together with five other recent Academy graduates Liga Gallery in Berlin (two year project) which led to his work getting international recognition. He has exhibited internationally and his work is contained in many major public and private collections. In 2005 his work was included in two major survey exhibitions, Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection at Mass MOCA and From Leipzig: Works from the Ovitz Family Collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He lives and works in Leipzig.