Horst Antes (1936 –
Horst Antes was born in Heppenheim, Germany (1936). The predominant theme in the work of Horst Antes, who studied with HAP Grieshaber at the Karlsruhe Academy from 1957 to 1959, is the human figure. His early style was strongly determined by color, but after stays in Florence (1962) and Rome (1963), he reduced his palette and increased the dimensions of his closed-contoured figures until soon they dominated a pictorial space filled with textured fields of thinly applied paint.
Against this foil, the figures appeared to be propelled forward toward the viewer, as H. Pee has written, by the “increasingly geometric-ally fixed color planes which derived their doubtless correct function in the pictorial organism from the spatial experiences of late Cubism.” In Third Landscape (1968), expansive fields of white and strong colors serve to heighten the expressiveness of the composition.
This is one of a series of similar paintings in which variations are rung on Antes’s “artificial figures,” including the idol-like “cephalopod.” Symbolically condensed human images, the figures stand out as if in low-relief against a spacious landscape, which was inspired by Sienese painting of the Trecento. Antes calls these canvases “space-figure paintings,” adding that “The figures are always artifices that have a certain serenity as well.
One should not view them solely as demonic creatures or monstrosities from hell, or who knows what all.” Still, one cannot help but believe that Antes’s figures do embody certain reactions on his part to the evils of contemporary society, for they reveal a critically ironic viewpoint that stimulates us to stop and think.
Since 1990 Antes has been living and working in Karlsruhe, Florence and Berlin. His oeuvre includes not only paintings and graphic art, but also sculptures in public spaces. His works are exhibited throughout the world and are represented in all the most important German collections, et al. at the Kunsthalle Hamburg, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Nationalgalerie Berlin and the Museum of Modern Art New York.