Oliver Czarnetta

1966, Düren (Germany)


"What I do is motivated overall by enquiry as to the substance of the human personality.

My point of departure was long series of Quasi-Portraits, portraits as they seem and in very different media and scales. I had set out to find some way to the origins of our individuality from the outside, as it were via the surface layer of the human individual, the physiognomy. In hundreds of Quasi-Portraits, then, I was looking to grasp the diversity and uniqueness of the human creature. (see Quasi-Portraits, Boxer, Fragment)

A phase of work followed in which I sought to arrive at deeper strata of our individuality and set about it in two ways.

One was to use transparent, particularly lucent media, especially epoxy resin; this is how the life-size Spectrum heads came about.

For one, in our culture with its Christianity-informed ideal of enlightenment, that kind of material begs to act as a synonym for ‘spirituality’ - we ‘see through something’, we ‘see the light’, and the very existence of Gothic stained-glass windows is owed to this received consensus. For me, the material also references the process nature of human individuality in that the inner workings of the heads are perceived to be in constant motion, in a process effected as it were by one’s walking around them. In these heads, manifesting from within through bubbles of air and some pigments, the face as a symbol of individuality is an imprint suspended in the interior of the head; it conveys an impression of the fleeting and fragile. (see Hybrid, Holon, Layer-Portrait, Spectrum and the big heads)

The other aspect, the penetrating through the outer layer into the depths of the personality, came about by breaking up the surface of the piece in progress and working with mirrors to direct the eye – mirrors betokening self-knowledge and critical reflection. The cast-concrete ‘bunker-like’ series of Single Interieurs and Lounge Interieurs are examples. Their outward appearance is indebted to the constitution of the human face; peepholes and eyeholes give the peep-boxes the appearance of ancient Greek or Roman masks. To use them, the beholder has to press her/his face to the work. A number of mirrors direct the eye to parts of the body normally inaccessible to one’s own eyes, such as one’s own earholes or nostrils. The boxes also recall bunkers, which additionally call to mind the equilibrium between the need for protection and the isolation of the individual personalty. (see Single Interieur)

 From the peep-boxes with their bunker look, I turned to the house as a symbol of our personality, long-established in psychology as this has been. For these works I developed a casting technique based on the lost-wax process, allowing me to cast houses telescoped into each other à la ‘... house in a house in a house ...’ in a single cast. I see that as mirroring the onion structure of the human personality. Our ‘self’ becomes discernible here as a further microcosm in a further macrocosm, from the infinitesimally small to the infinitely vast. The correspondence between the layers, a constant process, creates a phenomenon of coherence, our ‘self’. "

About Oliver Czarnetta

1966    Born at Birkesdorf, Düren                                                               

1992    Final examination as apprentice stonemason. Working since then as an independent artist.

1993-2004    History of Art, Philosophy; PhD.

2007-2009    Artistic member of staff at Institut of Art History and Theory at      University of Koblenz

2012 -2015     Additional studio in Leipzig, Germany

Since 2015     Lives and works in Aachen, Germany

Artistic resume and press

 Selected exhibitions


Kopflos/Headless’, Galerie Schmalfuss, Berlin, Germany

‘Geleé Royale’, Galerie Rompone, Köln, Germany


‘Progress’, Galerie Rompone, Köln, Germany

Schwarz/weiss und ein wenig Farbe’, Galerie Schmalfuss, Berlin


'Pareidolia', Galeria Lucia Mendoza, Madrid, Spain

'Zur Zeit', Galerie am Elisengarten, Aachen. Germany

'Schnappschuss'. Galerie The Grass is Greener, Leipzig, Germany


Artspace Rompone, Cologne, Germany

'Angry Boys', Museum Der Ny Kastet, Thistedt, Danmark

Löwenvilla Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany

Papierbiennale Lucca, Lucca


'Identidad' Galeria Lucia Mendoza, Madrid, Spain

'Lethe' Gallery The Grass is Greener, Leipzig, Germany

'Galerie Kunstreich', Bern, Switzerland


„Sicher[er]e Welt,“ Artspace Rompone, Cologne, Germany

„Gesichter der Stadt“, Kunstverein Hockenheim, Germany

'Bizarre', AIAP, Monaco


„Ce que je suis maintenant“, Osthaus Museum Hagen, Germany

„Pensamiento Salvaje“, Galeria Lucia Mendoza, Madrid, Spain

„Der Dritte Mensch“, Galerie The Grass is Greener, Leipzig, Germany


„Mythos Stadt“, Galerie Schmalfuss, Berlin, Germany

Opening exhibition in Vitraria Glass + A Museum, Venice, Italy


„Seitensprünge“, Galerie Teapot, Cologne, Germany

„Transit“, Galerie Queen Anne, Leipzig, Germany

„Porträts“, Galerie Rigassi, Bern, Switzerland


„Hohlräume“, Kunstverein Bruchsal, Germany

Cologne Contemporaries, Carlswerk, cur. b. J.M. Müller &. A. Jastrzabek


...Haus im Haus im Haus...“, Kunstverein Siegen, Germany

„Realismus – Schein oder Wirklichkeit“, Galerie Epikur, Wuppertal


Galerie Teapot, Cologne, Germany


‘Stadt als Urbild’, Galerie Netuschil, Darmstadt, Germany

Kunstverein Neue Galerie Kloster Bronnbach, Bronnbach, Germany

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