Stefan Friedemann (DE)
Text written by GHA
German artist Stefan Friedemann produces allegorical monochromatic drypoints. He uses disheartened people with self-destructive coping mechanisms as his main subjects which can be understood as social commentary on our current ways of communicating.
Sombre characters with strong facial features seem to be disassociated from their surroundings. They are either placed in social spaces such as bars or they experience vulnerable moments of nudity. A common theme amongst the compositions is that the subjects don’t face each other – there’s no eye contact between them, even though they coexist in such close distance. Some of them smoke, others drink – each one of them has developed their own way to handle their sorrow.
Juxtaposed naked characters suggest that they may have previously enjoyed each other’s physical company but remain uninterested in deepening their bond. Within the rise of modern individualism and social media, it seems that we have sacrificed genuine interpersonal connections; we form typical and superficial relationships in fear of solid commitment.
The recurring empty background represents the emotional disconnection amongst the depicted characters. Slight and smooth shading, just enough to define their shapes and forms accentuates the complete absence of happiness within the works; damaged people seeking company in bars and flings, make one wonder what led them to this point.
The light spaces illustrate the night bar’s funky lights, but the absence of colour creates a sedate mood. A sense of alienation is even more prominent. A couple that subtly embraces each other while they dance would normally translate to a sign of positive body language; however in this context their physical stances insinuate a rather awkward and stiff interaction. Friedemann’s prints offer an insight into a complex social phenomenon; we are so used to experiencing feelings of solitude despite the amount of people that surround us. Spontaneous human interaction amongst strangers is an endangered form of expression.
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