Dirk Skreber

Dirk Skreber

Dirk Skreber
Born 1961, Lübeck, Germany
Lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany and New York

“Personally, I find that, as such, the catastrophe is nothing more than transformation in rapid motion, something beyond good and evil. It is a transformation which passes over into a new, permanent state of affairs, something which agglomerates, the energy at a breaking edge grows to an absolute maximum and then ruptures, accumulates, thrusting itself somewhere else and dramatically changes life.” [1]

Dirk Skreber engages with catastrophe, whether man-made or natural, sitting himself at a comparative rather than judgemental position. Known for his series of paintings based on natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, he is more concerned with depicting the effects and their mediated perception rather than the telling of any one story. Often using non-traditional methods as a counterpoint to his use of oil paint, he creates regularly patterned grounds from lengths of foam, insulation and parcel tape (duct tape). This different approach acts as a hypnotising effect to the mediation of images to which we are all subject.

Dirk Skreber presents this scenario as a potential event and point of catastrophe. Combining the two scenes together he shifts the focus from viewing to observing, the thick painted lines serving as the interference layer, the source of which is undeclared and potentially devastating. Despite the works political dimensions the focus falls on the influence this interference exerts.

“His reply is not that of a security expert but rather of an iconoclast who paints pictures....”[2]

In his car crash series of which there are two paintings in the exhibition, he would later continue to transform his subjects into a ‘real’ three-dimensional sculpture, where a car gets forcefully crashed around a pole, suspending dramatically in mid air, ripping a void open between the violent painting and the real sculptural drama. Currently these sculptures are on view at the Saatchi Gallery in London.


[1] Dirk Skreber in conversation with Christian Scheidmann, November, 2007
[2] Fritz Emslander, Blutgeschwindigkeit, Museum Franz Gertsch, 2008