Horst Janssen (1929 – 1995) would have celebrated his 90th birthday on 14 November 2019. The Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg is using this anniversary as an occasion to shed light on a lesser-known side of the artist’s work. Lebenskleckse – Todeszeichen (Splatters of Life – Signs of Death) shows Janssen’s images that deal with their own nascence and perishing: splatters, from which entire landscapes emerge; spots that merge into shadowy figures; holes that become the evening sun.
In a realm eluding stylistic categorisation, the exhibition shows a master of his craft, who – much like the Surrealists before him – relied on the randomness of chance. With a strong sense about the material possibilities contained within the medium and a highly developed technique, Janssen confronts viewers with the birth of his paintings, although their demise is already inscribed within them.