Norbert Bisky

Dreams and nightmares captured on canvas

"On the international art market, the people snatch the painter's bad boys made of oil out of his hand; in Germany, his work is seen in a more reserved and critical light," wrote the German news magazine Focus about Norbert Bisky in 2007. Bisky became internationally known for his paintings of blond and athletic young men, whose harmonious manner of depiction contrasts with the pictorial action. He is considered one of the most important representatives of a new figurative painting. Initially, however, his works were often misinterpreted. The New York Museum of Modern Art collects Bisky's works, as well as the Museum Ludwig in Cologne and the Korean National Museum in Seoul.

Bisky (born in 1970), who grew up in East Germany, was influenced by socialist realism, the art of East Germany. He was encouraged by his teacher Georg Baselitz to engage with the images of his childhood. Bisky later even became his master-class student. Further influences include the Spanish masters Francisco de Goya, Francisco de Zurbarán and Jusepe de Ribera, whom he studied intensively during his time in Spain at the Prado in Madrid. Their impact on Bisky's art-making is particularly visible in the works the artist has painted since 2010 during his "black phase". Through personal experiences of death and terror, pictorial contents and their depiction align for the first time, so that the colourful, radiant tonality of his works subside into a black palette.

In the meantime, Bisky's artistic work goes beyond painting. He increasingly integrates his painterly works into elaborate, space-specific installations. In 2013, Bisky designed the stage set for a production of the Berlin State Ballet. From 2008 to 2010, Bisky was a visiting professor at the Geneva Art Academy. In 2015, he swapped his Berlin studio with the Israeli artist Erez Israeli for three months to gather inspiring new impressions and to make a personal contribution to the exhibition "Twilight over Berlin", which commemorated the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany 50 years ago.

The artist lives and works in Berlin.