It has been 20 years since the Luxembourgish wunderkind, Michel Majerus, died tragically young in a plane crash in 2002. Now the painter is being commemorated with shows at neugerriemschneider, n.b.k. and KW Institute for Contemporary Art. Focusing on his early work, the oversized canvases at KW show a yobbish abundance of colour and ideas. Filling his paintings with perversion, wit and politics, this preternaturally talented artist carried out the simplest ideas with total ironic sincerity.
This preternaturally talented artist carried out the simplest ideas with total ironic sincerity
What comes across is his startling confidence, referencing celebrated painters and rejecting any style as he gobbles up 1990s pop culture and spews it back on a scale so large you can’t help but be affected. Like goofy billboards, they are as daft as they are grotesque: Mario offering unsavoury sex advice, prostate examinations, 10 bears masturbating in as many boxes.
There’s a Warholian vacuousness to many of them – an artist he references not particularly successfully in later rooms of the exhibition. The paintings bear little or no thematic relation to each other, yet at the same time, they could only be Majerus: the ambitious twenty-something who reinvented painting for the 21st century.
- Michel Majerus: ‘Early works’ is on show until 15.01.23 at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Auguststr. 69, Mitte, visit their website here.