“Painting Is an Act of Concealment”
The Press on Victor Man in the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle

Victor Man’s exhibition “Zephir” at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle invites visitors on an expedition to a dark and enigmatic cosmos – and is enjoying great critical acclaim.
“Every year, Deutsche Bank chooses an Artist of the Year,” writes Ingeborg Wiensowski in Kulturspiegel. “Its selection for 2014 is a real surprise. For although Victor Man (…) had been successful in the art scene for around ten years, he is not a hot shot with a glamour factor.” Wiensowski sees Man’s works as being “visionary”, describing them as containing “dense and mysterious pictorial worlds that look like they are from another era and that darkened gradually in churches or museums.” Nicola Kuhn has a similar opinion: “Until not so long ago, he was an insiders’ tip,” writes the art editor of Tagesspiegel. “His being named ‘Artist of the Year’ of Deutsche Bank and the related exhibition in the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle have catapulted Victor Man into the public eye once and for all.” She calls the show an “exercise in reflection and concentration,” where “old-masterly painted works” are staged like precious relics.”

“The paintings of he Romanian artist Victor Man are captivating enough on their own. But in combination with the extravagant presentation, the fiction of a bleak world is enhanced even more,” writes Lea Albring from the new Berlin portal Qiez. In his portrait of Victor Man for Art, Kito Nedo remarks: “For Man, exhibition spaces are not just a shell, but an integral part of his work, a kind of medium.” Katrin Schirner from the Art Lovers Club experiences the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle as being reminiscent of a “sacred-looking space,” while Sven Grünwitzky from the art blog QJUBES sees a “timeless museum bunker. (…) Victor Man’s incisive painting creates a space that shields us from the overstimulation of the today’s world.”

The exhibition makes Ingeborg Ruthe of Berliner Zeitung “think of a cathedral.” She adds: “This is precisely Victor Man’s kind of art. It bridges the gap between the material and the spiritual and makes him unique among current painters. Everything looks supernatural: figures, gestures, symbols. It is as though everything has fallen out of time or dates far back to antiquity or the Renaissance, yet it is smack in the middle of today’s fast-paced, styleless society.” For Jochen Stöckmann of Deutschlandradio Kultur, Man is “a painter of intermediate worlds who dispenses with all clarity.” His “disturbing subjects are presented like comforting icon paintings: small formats in elegant frames, restrained colors.”

The Berliner Morgenpost raves about Man’s “enigmatic oil paintings,” and Marie Kaiser, in charge of the “Art but Fair” program on Radio Eins, sees parallels between his “mysterious shadow paintings” and the works of the Surrealists. Monopol asserts: “Night or twilight prevails in his visual spaces, in which a great deal of art-historical knowledge is stored.” “Man is an artist for whom the enigma is a central stylistic means,” writes Art. “He shows and hides things at the same time: Man has perfected painting as an act of concealment.” And Martina Jammers writes in the Berlin city magazine tip: “Victor Man does not give interviews. Thus, he leaves the interpretation to us. (…) We have to make sense of scenes that come from an interim realm, where personality no longer plays a role and Sigmund Freud’s id comes into play.”

In taz, Brigitte Werneburg stresses the “stupendous painting technique” that Victor Man “masters to perfection.” With his references to the Old Masters, “he reinvents them as contemporary paintings in a strange and intricate way.” Werneburg sums up: “With Victor man Deutsche Bank and its advisors Okwui Enwezor (Haus der Kunst), Hou Hanrou (Maxxi Museum), Udo Kittelmann (Nationalgalerie), and the curator Victoria Noorthoorn have found an artist who seems idiosyncratic enough to outlast all the hype that has surrounded him recently.”