Since the 1990s, Stefan à Wengen has worked on larger groups of works that investigate questions of cultural codes and memory. Issues such as the foreign or the strange, death and memory, melancholy, existence, sexuality, anxiety, and the uncanny form the core of his artistic work. Empty landscapes, animal and human portraits, and reoccurring representational motifs make up part of his pictorial repertoire. His motifs are reminiscent of images from art history, film, or the subconscious.Read More
Starting from the strange and uncanny, Stefan à Wengen uses his serial working method to explore questions about the culture and nature of human existence. With recourse to art history, ethnology, literature, philosophy, film, media as well as his own memories mysterious sceneries develop, which offer viewers a reflection of their own world of experience along with all its abysses. Symbolic pictorial elements are combined to form a new, individual pictorial reality, which emanates something threatening and oppressive. Skulls, animal skeletons, and moths painted with great attention to detail evoke an awareness of the transience of earthly existence. Mysterious interiors, lonely architectures, or abandoned boats in alien landscapes address themes such as fear, strangeness, and the other. Influenced by the artist's individual travel experiences through the jungle, his motifs recall the beginnings of human history.
The ongoing series of works 'Detected Dictionary' (since 2014) is dedicated to images of cultural memory. Worn-out teddybears, flower still lifes, toadstools and animals, all isolated on a 30 x 25 cm canvas mounted on wood, belong to this 'wunderkammer of the subconscious'. The pictures in this series are strictly black-and-white with various shades of gray, accentuating à Wengen's technically sophisticated and detailed painting style.
The unusual name of the Basel-born painter comes from the direct lineage of the Basel painter family à Wengen, which dates back to the 16th century. Stefan à Wengen's works have been shown internationally in numerous exhibitions and can be found in important public and private collections in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the USA, and Switzerland, including the Kunstmuseum Basel and the Kunstmuseum Luzern.
Stefan à Wengen lives and works in Düsseldorf.
Text courtesy Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art.