I seized the opportunity to view Berlin artist Stefan Thiel’s work in a sneak preview for his recent opening in Mitte. It was not only the main exhibition I wanted to see but the more private side room pieces that peaked my interest. Here, tucked away in an unmarked gallery space next door were in my opinion the real treasures of his labours.
A pristine white room filled with erotic images, one wall of naked male figures and the facing wall of larger subjects dressed in their various fetish attires posing, dominating and masturbating. His artworks are not glossy photographs or full colour paintings, but all solid black images on white backgrounds. ‘What a collection of men you have here, Stefan’, I blurt out. First he just smiles shyly, but then elaborates enthusiastically about his take on an ancient art form.
„My medium is called Scherenschnitt or Silhouette in English.“, he explains. „Maybe you have seen versions of this cut paper art on Chinese New Year or in the Mexican Dia de los Muertos celebrations. This is also the process used by graffiti artists to make the stencils for their street art. Historically it was very popular in Germany in the 19th century when small portraits of famous people, family members and friends were made in this style and collected in memory books just as we collect digital photos on our computers or smart phones today.“
What were once single large sheets of solid black paper Stefan Thiel has adeptly transformed into very detailed portraits with an almost photographic likeness. Each piece is hand cut with scissors and a razor knife into very sexy images from his world. Tall slender athletic looking men, bearded body builders, hot guys in sneakers and sportswear or leather engaged in very personal and sexual scenarios. All friends and ‘family’ just as the old world Scherenschnitte, but in his versions the subject matter has changed a little. One entire wall is covered in about 70 smaller nude portraits of all body types. „I want to get this number up to 100 total for a complete set. Any happy volunteers out there?“, he grins.
My personal favourites are the larger Silhouttes, explicitly titled Morton with Sneakers, Denny Selfshot and Sascha Masturbating in his Mirror. Well, you get the idea: Perfect art to show off in your new formal dining room. I‘ll be in Paris this month exhibiting some of my own works at the „Just do Art“ during Sneak Week. Amongst other things I will definitely be checking out Thiel’s latest works for his upcoming presentation in the collective À Corps Perdus that will open in November at Backslash Gallery (www.backslashgallery.com). Keep you updated…
Black Boot for Boner Magazine