»I DO NOT WANT TO CREATE ART THAT CAN BE BOTH EVERYTHING AND NOTHING.«
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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 very passionate painter and draftsman, selling my works worldwide. I was educated in humanistic subjects, with a major certificate in Latin, studied at a universtity level and then self studied artistic and historical subjects that came to me naturally. 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 when I first started painting, I am my biggest critic. It took time for me to develop my own convincing style in my art, repeating not only pleasing but also already well-known artistic positions. It was a search for this personal recognition value, 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 as my profession. 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.
For a while I was engaged in other career paths, in addition to and alongside art. I am 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). I was also on patrol with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency along the Mexican-American border and a trainer for the Russian customs administration. All these very different, very real experiences ground me in the here and now and help me in my art as multi-layered inspirations. As an added value from my not so straightforward artist biography, I have a clear, life near point of view in my paintings. I am proud of my accomplishments. I can better communicate in my paintings and outside, because I have this thought through and critically questioned for many years. I have learned a lot about humans. And that’s exactly why I always focus in my paintings on the knowledge of people and their destinies (details on my point of view in the INTERVIEW that I conducted in the fall of 2019). I am completely within me in my painting today.
I work and live in the northern German coastal city of Hamburg, on the North sea, and in Tostedt (Lower Saxony). Over the years I have participated in many national and international exhibitions. My works can currently be found in private collections and public spaces in the US, Canada, UK, China, Australia, Mexico, Russia, Belarus, Germany and Ukraine. So far, more than 450 large paintings and countless drawings have been produced, but this is only an interim balance. I continue my artistic work in the studio day after day and sometimes, when insomnia seizes me, even at night. It remains exciting.
»WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OF OUR HISTORY, WE LOSE OUR IDENTITY AND ALL ARTISTIC HUMILITY.«
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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 big German coastal city of Hamburg, on the North sea. I’m a seeker as a painter and in search of answers. The single human takes center stage. I work constantly, passionately and with great discipline on my further artistic way. I have a clear, strong painting philosophy. And I deal with philosophical, mythological as well as with historical subjects in my works.”
“I go my own way in my paintings. 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 do not construct a completely fictional new world. I only reduce the view of our surroundings. Added value and clarity through abstraction. It must be rough, original, melancholic, dark, and yet at the same time bright, poetic, clear, full of hope. No maybe, no lukewarm. Every single moment remains important during the execution and can lead to a major change of direction. I do not sacrifice my lines for an abstract idea. I enjoy 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 career. Painting is a beauty, soul and passion, but sometimes it is also a fight. A fight with myself, this endless struggle for colors and motif in my own conversation; it feels like a 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 that it’s not always easy. Each artistic battle is worthwhile and shows that I am – as an artist – still alive, breathing and developing.“
“I have an artistic vision that I articulate. My painting needs a voice. I have my own points of view as a painter. I stand firm to my work and to each of my paintings as well as to my painting in its entirety.”
“For me, painting needs a starting point, a leitmotif as well as a common thread. Without a content, the 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? What is already manipulation by third parties, the attempt to influence our feelings, thoughts and actions? What defines us, your world and my world? What is nothing but needless ballast?“
“Real life is the best teacher and inspiration, any kind of study can only be an academic start and remains only a theory. But I do not want to talk about tiring theories. Instead, I want to feel the painting, I want to breathe it, and my emotions and my intellect long to be touched and impressed by it. Observers and collectors should feel this passion in my paintings. And I’m inspired by nature’s harmony, by history and by 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 paintings: Life is really unpredictable. There’s only a very thin line between a truth and a lie, between enthusiasm and fanaticism, between a victim and a perpetrator as well as between light and shadows, and yes – last but not least – between life and death. There are no easy answers, 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.“
»WE HUMANS STAND BETWEEN HOPE AND FEAR, HISTORY AND NOW. THIS IS THE STARTING POINT FOR MY INSPIRATION.«
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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 paintings. 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 as an artist I go my own independent way(s).
MORE CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS.
More inspirations form the inside and outside: 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.
»ONLY BEAUTY WILL SAVE THIS WORLD.«
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