Emerging Artist of the Week – Benedikt Leonhardt
Benedikt Leonhardt is our Emerging Artist of the Week
With our Emerging artist of the week series we feature up-and-coming artists whose works caught our eyes. Benedikt Leonhardt is a German artist with a minimal line. His works on canvas are subtly full of light and details. We talked with him about his new white series and what his formation taught him.
How do you describe your art to somebody who has never seen one of your work?
In my painting I’m working with figurative stimuli being overlaid by complex constructions of lines, translucent colors and surface material.
My materials range from oil, acrylic and vinyl paints to pencils,crayons, adhesive tape and acrylic filler.
The process, materiality, randomness and openness play an important role in my work. The intrinsic value of the material and the language it speaks should be the real subject of the picture.
The original idea that inspires the act of painting is broken up through the refractoriness of the materials and the internal logic of the production process. When working on a painting, random and unexpected developments often occur. It is during the realization of the piece that the actual communication between the painting and myself begins.
Where did you study?
I studied under Astrid Klein at the Academy of Fine Arts (HGB) in Leipzig from 2007 to 2014, and am currently a Master’s student in her class. In 2012, I completed a period of study abroad at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in Norway.
What did university and your professors give to you?
The strong academic training at the Academy of Fine Arts (HGB) taught me the classical painting techniques. This was elemental and formative for me. Still benefitting from it in my current work, I can relatively accurately implement the ideas that I have with this knowledge.
Still the major part of my practice is occupied by experimentations, especially in regards to the combination of different materials.Despite experimenting my training gave me a basic understanding of materials and techniques that I can always refer to. Moreover, I learned a lot from my professor about failure and how to deal with it. You can try a lot but you also critically have to take in consideration your own work and its potential.
What are you currently working on?
Lately I have been working a lot with the colour white. The white works are made from many different layers and overlays of different materials in different textures and thicknesses.
Layers of material that give structure to the painting are painted over by thin but intensive colour glazes and overlaid with semi-transparent to opaque white layers.The idea behind it is that the colour is only subtly shown through the above-lying layers.The actual image is created by the addition of different layers, which form an overall image in the eye of the viewer. The picture in its entirety should not be detectable at first sight, but should only divulge its complete range after a prolonged view.
Who are your three artists to watch?
Robert Ryman, Agnes Martin and Florian Hesselbarth.
What does your artist career look like in five years?
I invest my energy and passion in the present. In the „here and now“.
UNTITLED (WF-B-QM/V-1), 2015, 58,9 x 48,9 cm, acrylic, vinyl, pencil, tape and filler on canvas, Photo: Sophia Kesting
UNTITLED (CO-M-M-U), 2014, 45,7 x 43,7 cm,oil, acrylic, pencil and filler on canvas (installation view Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin) Photo: Sophia Kesting
See also Benedikt Leonhardt