Tom Früchtl’s work oscillates between hyperrealistic painting, and concept art.
The majority of his works are paintings on the surfaces of things, these things being found objects as for example pieces of wood, pieces of fake wood as used in furniture making, or kitchen towels, cardboard boxes or sheets of cardboard, furniture blankets (used for packing furniture when moving houses). All of these are mass produced things or parts of things, mostly not meant to have a genuinge aesthetic value. In rarer cases the painted surfaces are immobile and/or larger: brick walls of houses, barn doors, or furniture (a bench).
He painstakingly repaints these surfaces as found, reproducing the structure and colour composition as true to the original as possible. The diligence applied in this, he himself calls the ‘inversion of the economic principle’, that is, investing the greatest possible amount of work to achieve the least visible effect; he has been compared to Sisyphos.
He makes visible the potential beauty of usually aethetically neglected everyday things – usually deemed uninteresting ubiquitious mundane objects; albeit, the beauty may be only in the painting, not in the original thing, since the painting is of course also an interpretation, an exaggeration and even a nobilitation.
His work opens up questions about mimesis (imitation) in painting and in art in general, about truth in art, about originality and copy/counterfeit. In the case of Früchtl’s works the copy is the original artwork.
The really baffling thing about his art is that in painting the found objects, he forever destroys the very thing that he makes visible – in looking at the things you cannot get out of the infinite process of looking at the original, which is the copy, which is the original …, knowing that (very probably) you wouldn’t have noticed the thing in question in the first place, but now never again being able to see this particular surface, since it’s covered by the painting.
Anna E. Wilkens
Life: Tom Früchtl
1966, born in Munich, Germany, studied at the Academy of Fine Art Munich from 1990 to 1997, he was awarded several grants and prizes, the most recent Dahlmann Prize in 2017.
Selected solo exhibitions:
2017, Ludwig Hoesch Museum, Düren; 2015, Vincenz Sala, Paris/Berlin; 2012, Kunsthalle Göppingen; 2011, Nusser Baumgart Contemporary, Munich; 2007, Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt
Selected group exhibitions:
2015, ‘of light’, Haus am Lützowplatz, Berlin; 2012, ‘Farbe im Fluss – Pollock bis Warhol, Richter bis Ai Wei Wei’ Museum Weserburg, Bremen; 2007, ‘Vistazo’, Museo Carillo Gil, Mexico City