Römer + Römer, Grande Rio, oil on canvas, 2012.
The artist pair Römer + Römer (Torsten and Nina Römer) are based primarily in Berlin, but seen here quite rarely. Their last exhibition‚ Pride in Brighton, opened in 2011 at Galerie Michael Schultz to much fanfare. On September 7, their latest show Sambódromo opens, featuring snapshots of elegance and kitsch visualised through scenes from Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
Through the rendering, the images are a bit blurred, taking the focus off of the two-dimensional picture and pushing through more deeply into the energy of the portrait-personalities. Put under the magnifying glass is the idea of ‘cult’: how humans feel in their own skin with regard to the social mores of their environment, how we identify ourselves in terms of what we see as entertainment and what we do to fit in.
Their paintings are impossible to photograph. Rather, they are essential to witness live. At a closer glimpse, the strongly figurative works are not just about the stories the images tell, but also about how colour comes together to make a form. The many tiny painted dots of colour composing the artworks act like cells building the figures and elements of the picture into time capsule moments of someone else’s world, someplace very far away. Yet they are not merely voyeuristic. A part of the Römers’ own personality transmits back out through the canvas, saying something about their reasons for looking in the first place.
The Römers met in 2003 during their studies in Düsseldorf. Sometime around then, they started painting together on the same canvas. Coming from different backgrounds and bearing a 10-year age difference, they somehow balance each other – and the canvases they paint – out.
Römer + Römer – Sambódromo. Sep 7-Oct 12 | Galerie Michael Schultz, Mommsenstr. 34, Charlottenburg, S-Bhf Charlottenburg, Tue-Fri 10-19, Sat 10-14.
Originally published in Issue #119, September 2013.