Selected works by Lothar Hempel

Lothar Hempel
Das goldene Dreieck (Golden Triangle)


Acrylic on Paper

143.5 x 42 cm
Working across a wide range of media, Lothar Hempel stages elaborate theatrical possibilities, placing the viewer as an autonomous character engaging in his constructed dramas according to their free will. Stemming from an interest in value and identification systems, Hempel’s paintings exist as potential casts for his interactive dilemmas. In this series of paintings, Hempel designs a parade of figures: identical in stance, each character is defined by their aesthetic properties; painting itself becoming an extension of persona, ideology and storytelling. In Golden Triangle, Hempel’s figure is a tragicomic muse: his face painted as a grotesque Venetian mask, and is sinister in uniform, adorned with a rainbow coloured tutu. Hempel frames his perverse presence with designer elegance; harlequin tiles and dead black-green buds suggest both a dandyism and courtly intrigue. Underlying themes of contemporary politic are neutralised for the viewer, creating not a portrait, but an instance of ethical quandary.
Lothar Hempel


Acrylic on Paper

119 x 42cm
Following the format of ancient friezes, Lothar Hempel’s figures play out scenes of high drama from their stiff and stylised positions. In Kindl, Hempel paints a statuesque woman, a prototype heroine resplendid in diva-esque fashion. Hempel’s simply rendered background is suggestive of minimal theatre sets and allows homely formalism to give way to urban mystery. Drawn in hieroglyphic profile, Hempel humorously focuses on her eye; the only vivid indicator of explicit action, he paints it with the dramatic trepidation of crime film posters.
Lothar Hempel
Kreuzberg Nacht (Kreuzberg Night)


Acrylic on Paper

89 x 21cm
“Consideration of moral, ideological and ethical issues, are my central motifs, and are delivered by questioning the concept of the self.” Lothar Hempel explains. “The self here is fluid and dynamic, a social metaphor. It doesn't have a beginning or an end.” Taking fractured identity as a bi-product of modernity, Hempel constructs his portraits with a sense of fleeting transience. Painted on paper, they are figures of fancy; two dimensional characterisations, their similar format making them interchangeable props. In Kreuzberg Night, his figure operates as a formalist construction, a blank projection of contours and colour-fields, their attributes and symbolism readily appropriated for viewer self-identification and imagination.

Quote from: Art: Concept Olivier Antoine
Lothar Hempel


Acrylic on paper

125 x 30 cm
Drawing from the timeless morality of myth, Lothar Hempel pictures the heroic Jason as a god-like form, a portent of tragedy. Taking reference from ancient Greek theatre, Hempel’s figures rely on a minimum action and presentation in order to maximise the audience’s imagination and response. Characters’ attributes are defined solely by their costumes, their emotions by sculptural masks. His figures’ stylised stance and armless torsos restrain overt gestures of action, their ‘storytelling’ unfolds from symbolic and psychological interpretation rather than physical illustration. In Jason, Hempel paints his figure standing over a two-toned ground, walking from white to black: a climatic moment foretelling fatal misadventure.
Lothar Hempel


Acrylic on paper

126 x 30cm
In Medea, Lothar Hempel paints Jason’s wicked counterpart as a ruthless femme-fatale. Her fractured and calculating state of mind is echoed through the angular patterns and sharp strata of her dress and ground. Bold colours and geometric shapes allude to strength of character; her face a contrast of soft amoeba-like blotches, relating a feminine humanity and diseased corruption. Placed on a steely grey backdrop, Hempel gives this figure a supernatural dynamism, the wrath of a woman scorned echoing in timeless and placeless dimension.
Lothar Hempel
Richard Wright


Acrylic on paper

89 x 21cm

Through a simplified and stylistic form of painting, Hempel creates a sense of a theatrical charade. His figures are suggested as impostors, knowing hypocrites or deceptive pawns of unseen and elaborate fictions. Hempel uses painting as a tool of illusion. His dream-like and surreal forms don’t pretend a reality, but constantly reinforce their staged-ness. Reminiscent of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘epic theatre’, Hempel’s formalist compositions and puppet-like figures don’t provoke emotional engagement, but rather the viewer’s detached critical reaction to the presented narrative. In portraits such as Richard Wright, Hempel sets up scenes of plausible mystery and adventure as analogies of the viewer’s self-reflection and moral judgement.

Lothar Hempel
Morning Rain


Mixed media, butterfly

168 x 109 x 107 cm
Presented as both sculpture and theatrical maquette, Lothar Hempel’s Morning Rain offers a sentiment of naïve elegance. Constructed from simple craft media such as fabric and newspaper, Hempel draws from the enchantment of imagination, converting everyday materials into a fanciful puppet theatre. Consciously exposing the process of his making, Hempel’s figure makes no pretence to illusion. It’s interpretation as fictional scene, fragile museum piece, exotic artefact, or simply formalist intrigue is openly offered for viewer’s participation in Hempel’s suggested fantasy.
Lothar Hempel


Oil on canvas

200 x 100 cm
Delineated through whimsical colours and shapes, Lothar Hempel’s Butterfly presents a scene explicit in its fabrication. Conceived as if it were collage, Hempel’s painting is suspended in a crafted world of playful make believe, its simplified design conveying a sense of theatrical magic. Picturing a pixie balancing on an abstracted mountain, Hempel freezes narrative movement in a moment of static expectancy. Drawing equally from fairytale illustration and modern formalism, Hempel exposes the illusion of escapism, beckoning the viewer to examine their own motives and rationale.

Lothar Hempel's Biography

Born in 1966, Cologne, Germany
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany


Lothar Hempel, La Conservera, Ceuti (Murcia), Spain

Anton Kern Gallery, New York

Silderblick/ Squint, Stuart Shave/ Modern Art, London
Piramix Pix, Gerhardsen Gerner, Berlin

Kats, Nerves, Shadows & Gin, Anton Kern, New York
Rise and Fall, MGM, Oslo
Gio Marconi, Milan

Casanova & Other Problems, Stuart Shave Modern Art, London
Signal, Art : Concept, Paris
Casanova, The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

Alphabet City, Magasin, Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France -
curated by Florence Derieux, Le Magasin, Grenoble (cat.)
Effetti Speciali, c/o – Atle Gerhardsen, Berlin

Umbrella, Anton Kern Gallery, New York
Tarantella, Bar Ornella, Köln
2005 casa musica (extrema), Atle Gerhardsen, Berlin
Butterfly, c/o Atle Gerhardsen, Art Nova, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami

Fieber/Fever: 5 New Paintings and Other Stories, Anton Kern Gallery, New York
Ikarus, Art: Concept, Paris
On the Olympus, Unlimited Contemporary Art, Athens
Versteck! with Petra Hollenbach, Parkhaus, DĂŒsseldorf

Der Gesang der Vögel ist sinnlos! (The Song of the Bird is Nonsense!), Anton
Kern Gallery, New York

Diamanten, c/o Atle Gerhardsen, Berlin
Fleisch: Maschine, Magnani, London
Concentrations 42, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX
Propaganda, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London
Wespennest, Dallas Art Museum, Dallas

Magnet, Art:Concept, Paris

Das Orakel lÀchelt. Das Orakel lacht. Das Orakel lÀchelt. Ars Futura Galerie,Zurich
An Schlaf ist nicht zu denken, Lab of Gravity, Hamburg
Wespennest, (Wasp’s Nest) Anton Kern Gallery, New York

Amerika verschwindet nur das LĂ€cheln bleibt (America Disappears Only theSmile Remains), Anton Kern Gallery, New York
KAPUTT und die Folgen (Kaputt and the Consequences), Robert Prime, London
Videos, Centre Saint Gervais, Geneva

Ein Sandstrand voll Glas (A Beach Full of Glass), Galerie Daniel Buchholz,Cologne
Kunstschnee will schmelzen, Bureau Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam

Samstag Morgen, Zuckersumpf, Robert Prime, London
This Bittersweet Disaster, Anton Kern Gallery, New York

Strom, Anton Kern Gallery, New York
The Bienenkorb Times, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne
FRAC Languedoc Roussillon, Montpellier

LOW, Artistbooth, Cologne Art Fair, Cologne
LA BOUM, with Thorsten Slama, New Reality Mix, Stockholm
OMRON, six videos by Lothar Hempel, Preview Theatre, Wardour Street, London
Bewegungslehre (No Future), Buchholz und Buchholz, Cologne
1992 240 Minuten, with George Graw, Galerie Esther Schipper, Cologne


The Bell Show, LĂŒttgenmeijer, Berlin, Germany
Space Oddity, Centre of Contemporary Art Andratx, Mallorca, Spain

Qui Es-Tu Peter? (Who Are You Peter?), Louis Vuitton Cultural Space, Paris
Poetry in Double Time: A Small Rustling Revolution. Idiolect Visual Arts, Brugge,Belgium
The Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Los Angeles
Storytellers, Centre d'art contemporain / Passages, Troyes, France
Plus Ultra - Opere dalla Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, MACRO, Testaccio, Rom, Italy

Art by the Sea, Beaufort 03, Ostend
Jean-Luc Blanc: Opéra Rock, curated by Alexis Vaillant, CAPC Musée d`Art
Contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
Heaven, Athens Biennale, Athens
Biennale Estuaire Nantes < > St. Nazaires, Fond régional d`Art Contemporain des Pays de la Loire / Hangar à bananes, St. Nazaire
Beaufort 03, Triennial for Contemporary Art, Blankenberge
SCULPTURE SHOW, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
Festival de la création du Centre Pompidou, Conciergerie, Paris
Anabasis. Rituals of Homecoming, curated by Adam Budak, Ludwik Grohman Villa, Lodz
Birds love fish, CHERT, Berlin
Un plan simple (Perspective – Scùne – Écran), Maison populaire, Centre d’art, Mira Phalaina , Paris Montreuil
Festival de la création du Centre Pompidou, Conciergerie, Paris

Sphinxx, curated by Alexis Vaillant, Modern Art, London
La Fete Est Permanente / The Eternal Network, FRAC - Champagne-Ardenne,Reims
A show of many parts, each part more spectacular and elaborate than the last,curated by Kirsty Ogg, The City Gallery, Leicester
7th Gwangju Biennale, Korea
Art Berlin Contemporary 2008, c/o – Atle Gerhardsen, Berlin
Family and Friends, Anton Kern, New York
Lust warande, Skulpturenpark, Tilburg
Mystery of the Invisible Clock, curated by Joshua Nathanson, Karyn Lovegrove House, Hancock Park, Los Angeles
Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Mission: to interpret and understand contemporary art, Barbican Art Gallery, London
Lustwarande 08 – Wanderland, Tilburg, Holland

Effigies, Modern Art, London
L.A. Desire, Dennis Kimmerich, DĂŒsseldorf
Half square, half crazy / À demi carrĂ©, Ă  demi fou, Centre National d’Art
Contemporain de la Villa Arson, Nizza
Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative, curated by Jens Hoffmann, Thomas Dane Gallery, London
Pale Carnage, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee
Galleri MGM, Oslo
Pale Carnage, Arnolfini, Bristol
Imagination becomes Reality. Werke aus der Sammlung Goetz, ZKM – Museum
fĂŒr Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe

Implosion, Anton Kern Gallery, New York
Pelouses autorisées, Parc de la Villette, Paris
The Triumph of Painting, Part 4, The Saatchi Gallery, Londres / Leeds City Art Gallery, Leeds
Angela Bulloch, A K Dolven, Olafur Eliasson, Ceal Floyer, Liam Gillick, Lothar
Hempel, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Galleri MGM, Oslo
I Love My Scene: Scene 1 (curated by Jose Freire), Mary Boone Gallery, New York

Growing Up Absurd Problems of Youth in the Organized System, Kent Institute of Art and Design, Kent, Grande-Bretagne
The difference between you and me, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, VIC
Imagination becomes Reality, Part II. Painting Surface Space, Sammlung Goetz, Munich
Bidibidobidiboo, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin
World artists now !, Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha, Japan

She’s Come Undone, Artemis Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York (curated by Augusto Arbizo)
Now is a Good Time, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (curated by Dean Valentine)
The Snow Show, Tate Liverpool, UK
The Snow Show, Cities of Kemi and Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland (curated by Lance Fung)
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Millers Terrace, Londres
The Drawing Project, Vamiali’s, Athùnes
Creative Growth, CCA, San Francisco

Dark Shadows, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles
Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles
Hands Up, Baby, Hands Up! 160 Jahre Oldenburger Kunstverein, 160 Arbeiten auf Papier, Oldenburger Kunstverein, Oldenburg

Schöne Aussicht, Galerie Otto Schweins, Cologne
It’s Unfair! Museum de Pavilijoens, Almere
Accrochage, c/o Atle Gerhardsen, Berlin
Internationales Netzwerk, Fluxus und die Folgen, Karstadt Wiesbaden
Les vertus sont des titres, les souffrances sont des droits. Exposition de la collection du Frac Poitou-Charentes, HĂŽtel Saint-Simon / ThĂ©Ăątre d’AngoulĂšme,

A New Horizon, Art:Concept, Paris,
Uniform: Order and Disorder, P.S.1, New York
Und keiner hinkt 22 Wege vom Schwegler wegzukommen, Museum Kurhaus
Kleve, Kunsthalle DĂŒsseldorf, DĂŒsseldorf, D
Drawings, Galeria Sales, Rome, I
I LOVE New York, Anton Kern, New York
Beauty Of Intimacy - Lens and Paper, Kunstraum Innsbruck

Age of Influence: Reflections in the Mirror of American Culture, Museum of
Contemporary Art, Chicago
10 Jahre Ars Futura, Ars Futura, Zurich
Portraits, Thomas Rehbeiin Galerie, Cologne
Beauty of Intimacy – Lens and Paper, The Loudon Collection,
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

Titles for Drawings, AC Project Room, January, New York
oldNEWtOWn, Casey Kaplan, January, New York
Who, if not we?, curated by Yilmaz Dziewior, Elizabeth Cherry Contemporary Art, Tucson, Arizona
Nur Wasser LĂ€sst sich leichter schneiden, Projektraum Hafen, Hamburg
Dessins, Forde Gallery, Geneva
A Radiant Future, Forde – Espace d’art contemporain, Genùve
Officina Europa, Galeria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna

Conspirazione, Collection Re Rebaudengo, Turin
Roommates, Van Loon Museum Amsterdam
Yesterday Begins Tomorrow: Ideals, Dreams, and the Contemporary
Awakening, curated by Francesco Bonami, Bard College, New York
Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne
El Niño, StÀdtisches Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach
ars viva 98/99 - Installationen, Brandenburgische
Kunstsammlungen Cottbus, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Portikus
Frankfurt am Main
Zone, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin

Group Show: Painting, Photography, Drawing, Anton Kern Gallery, NY
Aura, (with Walter Dahn, Rosemarie Trockel & Dirk Bell) Galerie Ars Futura, ZĂŒrich
X 2, Wiener Secession, Vienna
Panic, ICA, London
Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels
Surprised, Kunsthalle NĂŒrnberg
Bring your own Walkman, W 139, Amsterdam
Delta, a geographical expression, curated by Francesco Bonami, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
Cologne show, Goethe Institut Turin

Glockengeschrei nach Deutz, das Beste aller Seiten!, Daniel
Buchholz, Cologne
This really nice, a project with students from the royal academy of arts, Aircondition, Copenhagen
TRAFFIC, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, CAPC Musée, Bordeaux
PUSH UPS, The Factory, Athens
AUTO REVERSE 2, le magasin, Grenoble
How will we behave?, Robert Prime Gallery, London
Escape Attempts, curated by Simon Sheik and Globe,
Christiania, Copenhagen

Atomic!, Oberwelt Galerie, Stuttgart
Auto Reverse, Centre Européen de la Culture, Geneva
The Video Collection, Filmfestival Knokke, Knokke, Belgium
Figures, Le Parvis, Centre Meridien
The Moral Maze, curated by Liam Gillick and Philippe Parrenoe Consortium, Dijon
Stoppage, curated by Liam Gillick, CCC Tours, Villa Arson, Nice
I Confess, Nicolay Art Center, Copenhagen
Purple 8 1/2, curated by Purple Prose, Galerie Jousse Seguin, Paris
L‘Hiver de l‘Amour, Part 2, PS 1, New York
Aperto, previously unreleased! curated by Sabrina Grassi, APAC Nevers
Photomontage, le Consortium, Dijon
Labyrinthe Morale, curated by Liam Gillick and Philippe Pareno L‘Usine, Dijon
X/Y, curated by Christine van Asche, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Palast der KĂŒnste, Utopie macht endlos, (Lotus Club), Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne

Sonne MĂŒnchen, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne
Homegrown, Lotus Club, Cologne
Grand Prix, Air de Paris, Nice
L‘Hiver de l‘Amour, MusĂ©e d‘art Contemporain de la Ville de Paris, Paris
Rue des Marins, Air de Paris, Nice
Residence Secondaire, Galerie Sabrina Grassi, Paris
20, curated by Tomaso Corvi-Mora, Galleria Pascale Laccese, Milan
Caravanserai, Galerie W 139, Amsterdam
Henry Bond, Olafur Eliasson, Lothar Hempel, Saga Basement, Copenhagen
Das Studium der Kunstgeschichte, Schleifschnecke, KĂŒnstlerhaus Stuttgart
Miniatures, the Agency, London
Mixbild, Galerie Esther Schipper und Michael Krome, Cologne
13 Levels of Meaning,"with Henry Bond, Ars Futura, Zurich
Atomic, Neurotic, Exstatic,"curated by Hendrik Larsson, The New ROOM, Göteborg

Some artists I've been thinking about who falls under the title of:
Wouldn't it be more pluralistic to embrace turmoil and/or violence?, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Galerie Esther Schipper at the Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Biennale di Venezia, APERTO, Venice
Summer Show, Galerie Esther Schipper, Cologne
Future Book Collection, Air de Nice, Nice
Fuck the System, Villa Rossi, Lucca
Food for Thought, curated by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Franklin Furnace, New York
Phenylovethylamour, Unfair 1993, project by Lothar Hempel and Carsten Hoeller,
Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne
Unplugged, curated by Nicholas Bourriaud
jeder kind is van marmer, Bloom Gallery, Amsterdam
Christmasshop, Air de Paris, Paris
Video, Galerie Sabrina Grassi, Paris
7e Semaine Internationale de Video (S.I.V.), Centre pour l’Image contemporaine Saint-Gervais, Genùve *

Prince, Madonna, Marky Mark & Cinderella, Ancient Etablissement Sacré, LiÚge,
Paradise Europa, BIZART, Copenhagen
Tattoo Collection, Air de Paris & Urbi et Orbi at the Jennifer Flay Gallery, Paris
Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Cologne, and Andrea Rosen, New York
Galerie Monika SprĂŒth, Cologne
Galeria Pasquale Leccese, Milan