Paul Critchley's original installation relies on deliberate illusion and gives the viewer the feeling of being part of a story.
What is real, what is just painted? Paul Critchley's paintings unfold a three-dimensional effect and are intended to appeal to the viewer's mind and emotions.
ESSENHEIM - As if they were turning page after page in a picture book and were right in the middle of stories being told: this is how visitors to the Essenheim Kunstforum can feel. Paul Critchley is showing his original room installation "Sense of Place" on four floors.
Visitors of all ages can discover many details in the plastic representations of objects found in many houses. The artist has deliberately depicted them in their original size. The paintings of pieces of furniture develop a three-dimensional effect through real elements that have been skilfully integrated into the works. Not infrequently, they are perceived as part of the surroundings - a deliberate illusion to appeal to the viewer's mind and emotions. By means of mirrors, they themselves become part of the staging; moreover, they can lend a hand and open windows or cupboard doors.
Paul Critchley is very meticulous about light and shadow; he also wants the perspectives to be right. In conversation with Eva Appel and Fred Engler at the vernissage, he gave insights into his life and work: Born in 1960, he grew up in Great Britain; as an art teacher, his parents had aroused his curiosity early on. After years in Barcelona and elsewhere, he now lives with his wife in a house in Italy. The title "A Sense of Place" refers - in addition to physical location - to a sense of belonging, to family and friends, to the street community or city. Scenes on a good 100 works come together to form a visual narrative. The construction of the long-planned new show, which can be seen for three weeks, was very elaborate.
From the "cloakroom", the path leads through the kitchen and living room, with glimpses of the refrigerator or the huge pile of books, through the bedroom and bathroom. Their furnishings appear timeless with deliberately unfashionable furniture, depicted in an old-fashioned painting style, explained Paul Critchley, who wants to inspire questioning: "I don't just paint what you see," he described, "but what could be." The blue tablecloth on "The Captain's Table" becomes an ocean or fish swim in a handbag. Dogs, cats, ducks and other creatures also now cavort in the art forum. How individual views on individually crafted forms combine to form a huge overall work is shown in "Rauric 12".
While the artist himself rather appreciates the mystical, with mysterious-looking staircases and corridors, visitors are particularly fascinated by idyllic scenes in powerful colours. Deep blue is the sky in the last light of day, above palpable structures of old walls. Shutters with peeling paint seem quite real, similar to the slats that let landscapes or sunlight shine through. Designed as triptychs, these paintings offer glimpses of colourful nature throughout the year. Other works offer glimpses into the lives of others who can be seen in the midst of everyday life: a couple at the kitchen table, reclining naked women, a man taking a shower. Paul Critchley revealed that he painted himself with anatomical precision. Atmosphere is supposed to become perceptible when looking at it, sometimes provocative or embarrassingly touching, but always lively and extremely humorous.