One to Watch

Matthias Pilsl

Matthias Pilsl is an emerging artist currently living and working in Stuttgart, Germany. His artistic practice is informed by a variety of classical subjects, including the old masters and the history of painting. His works incorporate both figurative and abstract elements, as well as geometric patterning. The layering aspect of his paintings is a direct reference to the medium of collage.

Matthias has exhibited internationally, including in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. He was a finalist in the “Art Olympia” competition in Tokyo, 2015.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?  

I was originally a landscape painter. This early fascination was largely responsible for my interest in painting. But it eventually became clear that I would have to continue to grow as an artist.

I personally like the idea of combining realistic painted layers with abstract layers and with pictures of pure color. I am fascinated with the range of qualities that color can possess. At once it is both rational and emotional. Color, like life, contains such fine nuances. So, I try to generate a complexity of painterly qualities and bring them together, and in the end I’m interested in two things: classical subjects as well as in going over my personal experiences. Painting has to surprise me!

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  

Not to be influenced much from the outside. Stay by yourself and keep internally processing your own questions and topics. In my experience, one often comes back to the same old points again and again till they’ve been worked out. And through that process, progress can occur.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

Most of the time I prefer to work in silence. It allows me to focus on the painting process. But it is also very important for me to continuously alternate between painting and making music. Through this oscillation of creativity, I find solutions for both. Sometimes it will take me hours of making music until I have the courage to face a painting that I’m working on. By making music in this difficult time, it helps me to clear my thoughts.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be? 

On a visit at a museum I saw Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet. I was touched deeply by the vehemence and perfection of this particular painting’s aura. But, I would also like to have a painting by Albert Öhlen, Gerhard Richter, or Michaël Borremans.

Who are your favorite writers?

Michel Houellebecq, Ernest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, Max Frisch, Marlen Haushofer, Martin Walser, Peter Stamm, and Thomas Bernhard.