A girl stands in a paradise garden, surrounded by birds, flowers and fruits, and as in a dream, the proportions and glowing colors of bizarre branches, a tiny ship and huge flowers do not match reality.

But at first everything seems as cheerful as the title “The spring is here” suggests.

Until one discovers the cut finger that is emblazoned on a white table in the middle of the painting.

Katharina Deschka

Editor in the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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There it is again, the well-dosed horror that the artist and cartoonist Rudi Hurzlmeier is able to deliberately inflict on the viewer of his works.

In the “Hurzlmeier Painting” exhibition in the Caricatura Museum in Frankfurt, one can get a more precise impression of how he does this, with small inconsistencies, from 100 works on canvas and paper by Hurzlmeier, all of which have appeared in the satirical magazine Titanic irritate them and, while looking at his pictures, make them look for those details that are completely wrong here.

Funny and obscene world

Hurzlmeier has been working for Titanic since 1985. More than 40 books and catalogs document the work of the artist, who has already received numerous awards for his work. He has received the German Caricature Prize three times. Hurzlmeier is best known to readers of media such as Penthouse Magazin, Eulenspiegel, Zeit, Stern and Süddeutsche Zeitung, to which he has regularly contributed during his long career as a cartoonist and painter. Because together with Ernst Kahl and Michael Sowa it was he who contributed to the introduction of painting into comic art and who used the technique of the old masters for his cartoons. His opulent paintings cite elements of classic still life, nude and landscape painting and create a disturbing, comical and obscene world from them.

The show is therefore based on the work categories that the painter Hurzlmeier himself created - based on and as a parody of the old masters and provided with Manet skies and Caspar David Friedrich figures, who look longingly out to sea. "Horse pictures", "modern high mountain painting", "seascapes", "still lifes" and "holy pictures" can be seen: During the "hiking day" there are monkeys that scurry about like schoolchildren on paths and trees. There are mountain peaks with huge ducks swimming next to them. There are horses that eat the thrown rider. Skulls falling from the sky, spiders and bombs on the painting with the title: “After a paralyzing heat wave, refreshing bad news hails”. There is the manwho is standing at the balcony door with his bathrobe open and a woman across the street is staring at through binoculars. A rhinoceros mated by a horse. A skyscraper wearing a wig. Hikers having sex in the forest. And the moon taking a bath on earth.

Hurzlmeier is self-taught

There are even more treasures to discover in the showcases, such as the screamingly funny series “Regelvollzug Watercolor Painting Course” with Hurzlmeier as a course instructor in prison or the animal portraits with kissed frogs and drinking bears.

And like Hurzlmeier's treatise “On the ridiculous in comical drawings”, which is used as a set of rules at art colleges.

Hurzlmeier, who was born in 1952 and who applied to the art academy four times without success, taught himself to paint as an autodidact - mainly by looking at it.

For him, art is like a leap into the unknown, bottomless.

“That may be because you are exposed to the permanent suction of the blank canvas when you paint,” says Hurzlmeier.

His painting opens up "fantastic spaces of irrationality," says Hurzlmeier.

It has nothing to do with reality.

With his caricatures he rarely takes up current issues, they are never concrete political statements.

That is why Hurzlmeier does not treat Corona.

Others can do that, he thinks.

When you see his sculptures, which quote René Magritte, for example, such as the pipe that claims not to be one, you suspect that Hurzlmeier is trying, like a surrealist, to playfully free himself from all contexts of meaning.

And he's hilarious too.

Hurzlmeier painting is open until April 18, 2022 in the Caricatura Museum Frankfurt, Weckmarkt 17, Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The catalog from Antje Kunstmann Verlag costs 25 euros.

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