Jonathan Meese was born in Tokyo in 1971.Jonathan Meese is a self-proclaimed cultural exorcist. In his performances,sculptures and paintings he adopts a shamanistic role, channelling all manner of chaotic zeitgeist. His personal interests reverberate throughout his paintings: comic books, horror films, medieval crusades and outsider art merge into a compendium of morality and epic failure. In his paintings, clear-cut roles of good vs. evil are confused, ironic propaganda is served up with homebrew conviction and malevolent knaves become heroes of the disenfranchised.
Jonathan Meese draws from German Expressionism, a movement dominated by the horrors of war and social discontent, especially in painting and film. It was strongly concerned with the unique vision of the artist: a conception of artist-as-diviner that Meese readily embraces. In Catdim, Meese presents himself as an exotic oracle. His flat black mask sits with elegant form over his energetic gold colour-field, reminiscent of Emil Nolde's Prophet. Meese infuses his images with immediacy and pathos, and his use of these values in a contemporary context lends authenticity to his B-movie alter-ego.
Jonathan Meese is a champion of the lost cause. His personal interests reverberate throughout his paintings: comic books, horror films, medieval crusades and outsider art merge into a compendium of morality and epic failure. In his paintings, clear-cut roles of good vs. evil are confused, ironic propaganda is served up with homebrew conviction, and malevolent knaves become heroes of the disenfranchised. In Der Suppenpharao, Meese invents a protagonist of questionable intent. Based on Zardoz's savage executioner, his masked gladiator-cum-superman stars in a poster-like composition, brimming with promise of pulp fiction drama. Meeseincorporates himself into his fantasy, as a tribe of snout-nosed nymphs approving the impending carnage.
In his self-portraits, Meese exaggerates his real-life ‘wild-man' features, his image continuously mutating through a cast of characters – from demons to divas – to develop potential narratives exploring the nature of power and conspiracy underlying contemporary mythology. Through his many reinventions, Meese replicates celebrity image manufacturing to style himself as a cult figure: both symptom and cure of a corrupted belief system. His narrative works play out B-movie fantasies in feudal tableaux, hailing religion and politics as punk-style forgeries. Collectively Meese's works operate as meta-narratives; feeding the fictional legacy of the artist as an almighty and immortal entity.
Jonathan Meese Is Mother Parsifal set the young artist alone against the well-over-five hours of Wagner's slow-moving epic in the vast scenery store-house of Berlin's Staatsoper Unter den Linden.
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