A B O U T T H E P E R S O N
CHRISTIAN BAHR, German painter and draftsman.
Born in 1965, in a snowy December in Buxtehude (Lower Saxony/Germany). For more than 35 years I have been a passionate painter and draftsman, selling worldwide and with national and international exhibitions. I was educated humanistically, I have the major Latinum, followed by high school diploma, study and finally university diploma. Artistic and historical studies took place on time and followed, partly autodidactically. My love of art has always accompanied me. But it was not a straightforward path to the professional painter that I am today. Because today as then I was and I am my biggest critic. It took time for me to develop a convincing own style in my art, repeating not only pleasing but already well-known artistic positions. It was a search for this personal recognition value, and even more so that I found myself in what I created. I first had to find the reason why I could neither live nor want to live without painting. Because my work needs this lack of distance, a high degree of individual emotionality. Today I am grateful for these detours because they made me a very conscious, profound artist.
And so, for a while, I took other paths, in addition to and alongside art. So I am also a cosmopolitan, connoisseur of the history of antiquity and the Middle Ages, veteran and bearer of the Medal of Honor of the German army (Bundeswehr), lifeguard, judoka with brown belt. And I was with the U.S. Border patrol on the border with Mexico on patrol and trainer for the Russian customs administration. All these very different, very real experiences ground me in the here and now and help me incredibly in my current art, are multi-layered inspirations. As an added value from my not so straightforward artist biography, I now have clear, realistic points of view in my painting that I am proud of and that I can communicate well, in my paintings and outside, because they have been moving me for years, critically questioned and thought out by me. I learned a lot about humans. And that’s exactly why I always focus on the knowledge of people and their destinies in my painting (details on my point of view in the INTERVIEW that I conducted in the fall of 2019). In my painting today I am completely with myself.
I work and live in the northern German coastal city of Hamburg near the North Sea and in Tostedt in Lower Saxony. Over the years I have participated in several national and international exhibitions. My works can be found in private collections and public spaces in the US, Canada, UK, China, Australia, Mexico, Russia, Belarus, Germany and the Ukraine. So far, more than 450 large-format paintings and countless drawings have been produced, but this is only an interim balance, because I continue my artistic work in the studio day after day and sometimes, when insomnia seizes me, even at night. It remains exciting.
Q U O T E S C O L L E C T I O N
“Not everything is art. But art is everything and everything breathes art in one way or another. Art is the true beauty of mankind.”
“I work in my studio nearby the rough North Sea and the big German coastal city Hamburg. I’m a seeker as a painter, in search of answers, and the single human takes center stage. I work constantly, passionately and with great discipline on my further artistic way. I have a clear and strong painting philosophy. And I deal with philosophical, mythological as well as with historical topics in my works.”
“I go my own way in my painting. I find the source for my inspiration – in many cases also for the motif – in me. Spontaneous action is the key, my preferred method. I work intuitively and in most cases without previous sketches, because I do not need a creative distance, I also do not construct a completely new world. I only reduce the view of our surroundings. Added value and clarity through abstraction. It must be rough, original, melancholic and dark, at the same time bright, poetic, clear and full of hope. No maybe, no lukewarm. Every moment counts, is important and can contribute to a sudden change in the painting. I do not sacrifice my lines for an abstract idea, and I love the painterly risk that results from the spontaneous, the radicalism in all the decisions to be made during the process of creation. That’s exactly how I paint.”
“I’ve always painted since my earliest youth, and over the years, a subconscious inclination turned into a serious artistic profession. But it was not a straight path. Painting is a beauty, soul and passion, but sometimes fighting. A fight with myself, this endless struggle for colors and motif in your own conversation, as an rough internal dialogue. There are these days and nights, when I fight for every single brushstroke, when I question every color scheme. But it’s good it’s not always easy. Because each of these artistic battles is worthwhile and shows that I am as a painter still alive, breathing and developing.“
“I have an artistic vision that I articulate. And I am convinced that those who are silent about their art have nothing to say about them. But painting needs a voice. I have my own points of view as a painter, and stand firm to my work, to each of my paintings as well as to my painting in its entirety.”
“For me, painting needs a starting point, a leitmotif, a common thread. Without content, a painting remains speechless and loses the right to earnest participation in art. In my painting I thematise the human conflict between inner and outer world, which runs through my work as a red thread. It is about the real behind the supposed, surrounding reality. What are we, and what is already manipulation by third parties, the attempt to influence our feelings, thoughts and actions? What defines us, your world and my world, and what is nothing but needless ballast?“
“Real life is the best teacher, any kind of study can only be an academic start and remains theory. But I do not want to talk about the theory of painting and art all the time. Instead, I want to feel art, to breathe it, and my emotions and intellect long to be touched and impressed. Observers and collectors should feel all this in my paintings. And I’m inspired by nature’s harmony, history and light. Again and again. Art ist a lifelong beauty, art is everything.”
“What I know after all these years and what is one important message of my painting: life is really unpredictable. There’s only a very thin line between truth and lie, enthusiasm and fanaticism, victim and perpetrator, light and shadows, and yes – last but not least – between life and death. There are no easy answers and it is complicated. Life is beautiful and life is hard, sometimes tinged with melancholy and sometimes like a summer day. But we must not lose faith in the good. Carpe diem – seize the day.“
I N S P I R A T I O N S
FROM THE FIELD OF PAINTING.
I am deeply grateful that my inspiration is a never-ending river. Nevertheless, I am – both unconsciously and consciously – naturally in a tradition with my painting. My points of reference are very different. They run the past centuries and range from the Classical Modernism through the Art Nouveau, Expressionism and Impressionism to today’s Contemporary Art. I am influenced by painters like Rembrandt and Caravaggio, J. M. William Turner and his visionary abstraction of colors, by the incredible Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Egon Schiele and Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso, even by Gustav Klimt and his interpretation of Art Nouveau, the impressionist Claude Monet (especially his old age work). Then there are the works of the great abstract American painters Joan Mitchell and Helen Frankenthaler. And from the area of the contemporary: Neo Rauch because of his seriousness in the thematic handling, Gerhard Richter (of course), the poetic draftsman Horst Janssen, and last but not least the rough Georg Baselitz and Anselm Kiefer. These are the poles between which I move. Impressions, influences, currents, nothing more, nothing less. I can get involved in all these paintings and biographies, but I as an artist go my own independent way(s).
MORE CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS.
More inspirations, inside and out: nature (seas, mountains, stormy weather, Greenland, the colors of autumn), music (Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Richard Wagner, Max Richter, David Bowie, VNV Nation), literature (William Shakespeare, Friedrich Schiller, Wolfgang Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Mann, Lew Tolstoi, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paulo Coelho, Don Winslow), movie (Werner Herzog, Christoph Nolan, Alejandro Iñárritu, Ridley Scott, George Miller), theater (again, of course: William Shakespeare, Berthold Brecht, Elfriede Jelinek, Fjodor Dostojewskij, Werner Schwab, Robert Wilson) and so much else.