Gerlinde Zantis, 'Stillstand / Standing Still'

13 Apr 2012 – 2 Jun 2012

Wyer Gallery

London, United Kingdom


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  • 37, 87, 156, 337, 39, 170 stop outside.
  • Clapham Junction

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This April, Wyer Gallery is delighted to welcome back German artist Gerlinde Zantis, who will exhibit a new series of drawings depicting deserted farm buildings. ‘Stillstand', a German word whose English translation seems clear enough, does indeed mean something akin to ‘standing still' in English, although in the German there are nuances of the kind of expectation, or pregnancy, that accompanies a pause. And Zantis' new works are indeed concerned with this state of stillness, but also with the condition of awaiting and with the anticipation that something could happen. Certainly nothing moves here: these pictures are like film stills. Lit by half-light or moonlight, for Wolfgang Becker, former Director of the Ludwig-Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, the scenes are reminiscent of those sometimes generated in Hollywood in B movies when filters were applied to scenes filmed in daylight — ‘nuit américaine', day-for-night. (‘Niedagewesen — Neverbeenthere', 2011). And perhaps like any film still, a freeze-frame narrative, the question asked is, ‘well, what happens next?' Zantis' vistas have a definite Gothic quality: there is an emptiness that is both beautiful and appropriate, yet which is also charged with prospect and not a little sinister. The buildings depicted are her narratives' only characters (they do have an unsettling and curiously living quality on occasion) and this is characteristic of Zantis' work: there are no people; the scenes appear deserted; it's dark literally and figuratively. But in this recent work the artist's vantage point seems to contribute a new, disturbing presence behind the lens of composition. The artist's use of perspective suggests perhaps something lying in wait, perhaps something in hiding: a position, ultimately, left only to the viewer to determine. Gerlinde Zantis (b. 1963, Eschweiler, Germany) since the late 80s, has exhibited widely and successfully across Europe where she is acclaimed for her skilled depiction of light and her somewhat unconventional technique whereby she moulds or sculpts pictures out of coloured dust and pigment. Her drawings, which are often grand in proportion, are immensely time consuming to create, but for her, there's no other way to achieve what it is she wants to show. She says, “This meticulous transfer of energy through the pencil would simply be impossible with a brush, for example. And it is precisely this glow that results from working with dense graphite and the contrast with the white paper, that I really want." Her most recent exhibition was at the Art Galerie Siegen, for which a catalogue is available (please contact the gallery). She last exhibited with Wyer Gallery in 2005.

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