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Sobering Galerie



Moving Days II. Oil on canvas. 38 x 51 cm. 2023
First Round. Oil on paper and album page. 23 x 23 cm. 2023
The Pond. Oil on canvas. 38 x 51 cm. 2023
Every Time. Oil on paper and album page. 23 x 23 cm. 2023
The Mountains. Oil on canvas. 45 x 60 cm. 2023
They Carry Them. Oil on paper and album page. 23 x 23 cm. 2023
The Garden. Oil on canvas. 45 x 60 cm. 2023
Summer Clouds. Oil on canvas. 45 x 60 cm. 2023
Every Time II. Oil paper and album page. 23 x 23 cm. 2023
Nap (Or Spring Day). Oil on canvas. 40 x 40 cm. 2023
By The Willow tree. Oil on paper and album page. 23 x 23 cm. 2023
New Clouds. Oil on canvas. 40 x 40 cm. 2023
Moving Days I. Oil on canvas. 38 x 51 cm. 2022

"In 1981, art historian Jean Clair defined realism as a “scrupulous observation of the represented model by the artist, may it be a figure, a face or a still life, even if this study ends in a religious or allegorical composition”.


Chilean painter Andrea Breinbauer’s work, undeniably realist, is also strongly surrealist. Graduated in Fine Arts at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, then awarded by the DAAD to pursue Stage Design studies at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin, Andrea Breinbauer sweeps with a precise brush art history, while bringing together her own memories and photographic archives in order to transcribe a very personal imaginary. 


In New Clouds, the artist focused her research for the first time in entirely bidimensional supports, oil painting on canvas and on paper. Her mastery of this medium allows her to freely explore various sources and inspirations, that range from a melancholic past up to our sometimes blurry present.


In her canvas production, the association of different images results in what seems to be a collage – almost recalling Max Ernst's surrealist works – whose great naturalism creates an ambiguous feeling, between painting and photography. Andrea Breinbauer's acute knowledge of art history offers her the possibility of bringing sources together, distant both in style and in time. We can thus see Valloton’s Verdun (1917, Musée de l’Armée, Paris) right next to the Unicorn Tapestries luxurious vegetation (XVth cent, Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York). Further away, it is the Douanier Rousseau Tiger and Buffalo fight (1908, Museum of Cleveland) that stands close to Dutch painter Adriaen Van der Spelt satin curtain (1658, Chicago Art Institute). By using a process of juxtaposition, the Chilean painter displays a new sight of painting history and questions our vision as spectators towards contemporaneity. Human figures undoubtedly contrast with the strangeness and instability of their overflowed surroundings, created by wave-like grounds, eruptions and clouds escaping from their frame, while distances seem to approach and then retreat in interior spaces that blend with the exterior (or vice versa). The fictive character invites to a mise en abyme of the spectator’s gaze, who observes another spectator, immutable and eternal. But a spectator of what? Of the tireless race of time that painting would only observe? Of the path of History, marked by its artists? These open-ended questions invite us to reframe our acquired knowledge and our position in these convulsive times. 


The second part of the exhibited artworks is a corpus of oil paintings on paper, that look just like analog photo albums. The chosen themes are also drawn directly from the artist’s personal memories of Chilean landscapes and of photographic archives. This work mirrors the greater canvases through subtle echoes (note the monochrome deer wandering from album page to colored canvas), but proceeds from a one-of-a-kind vision. The chosen focus here is mono-focal, focusing on a unique subject precisely depicted and making a contrast with the chaotic multifocal look of the canvases. While the inspiration for this body of work is absolutely personal and intimate, the result is no less universal. Here, a scene of a farewell or welcome is depicted, there different views of pristine mountains, and further on, a flower seems to have been captured during a summer stroll. These genuine themes allow the artist to appeal to a sort of simpler and slower past that commonly no longer has a place in an era of saturated immediacy. 


Lastly, Andrea Breinbauer's taste for and training in scenography is evident in her captivating compositions, where she achieves to translate her characteristic volumetric staging to the two-dimensional canvas. To this end, she draws on the curtain – a key motif in the history of painting for centuries – which in theater represents a boundary between the audience and a fictitious space. Thus, when the curtain is seen from a theatrical perspective within the canvases, it acts as a passage, as an invitation to enter the work and explore multiple narratives. Andrea Breinbauer then questions the fundamental use of the frame undermined by 20th-century artists. If its main function is to contain the subject of an artwork, the latter can just as easily escape from it and subvert our certainties. The combination of frame and curtain, transforms it into a window opening onto a surreal and original world, entirely made up by the painter.


By combining traditional art techniques and an acute vision to a body of images that are both personal and universal, Andrea Breinbauer succeeds in questioning fragments of our current history, while inviting us to delve into our own memories and those to come. 

Inès Molière

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