Squeaky colored pool toys in front of Himalayan peaks, animal bodies made of pots and pans, people with giraffe necks and binocular eyes – it is a surreal world into which Christopher Croft's paintings entice the viewer. But these paintings point with force and at the same time with poetry to very real threats to the world in which we live: from environmental pollution and overproduction, to alienation, dehumanization and the dominance of the modern West over the Old East.
The Australian artist's most recent series comprises six large-format paintings with six preparatory drawings. It bears the title: Household Pets in a Digital World. Christopher Croft had the initial idea for this in a Parisian park, where he was fascinated to observe how the animals displayed there fashionably matched their owners. He transformed the park scenes into the digital world in which everything flows and everything seems possible. There, the figures, painted with captivating precision, are assembled using the "copy & paste" system – as a hotchpotch world in which unity and order no longer prevail. They appear disconnected from reality, groundless, and thus devoid of responsibility.
It is not an optimistic view that Christopher Croft takes of the world, but an enlightening one, and in the details often a very humorous and warm-hearted one. The high-contrast images are full of quotations and allusions – to Pieter Brueghel, to Edvard Munch, to Alexander von Humboldt. It is a series that may seem like a riddle at first glance. But on closer looking, the great stories that each of these pictures has to tell are revealed.
Dr. Peter Münch