Honeymoon, 2019
Oil on canvas

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Just pass by, it´s worth a steady gaze…

A simple glance might not be enough at a first sight though.

You better stop over!

Honeymoon, 2019
Oil on canvas










The adage of a politician, who once said that most law-makers did not see the problems if they had been too close up or too big, is very much valid these days . Perhaps, this”lovely” man was trying to frankly acknowledge their predisposition to shy away from their responsibility despite its clearness, and not to consider the psychological effect that a physical magnification can cause before our eyes. I would say that the subject of the magnification ends up to play the final role. Think of the beauty and calm of subjects such as food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, shells, or even man-made objects! Think of still life painting, glance at Mirko Schallenberg´s.

The matter remains the object, still life, exactly as in the Middle Age or even later. The German painter is aware of the presence of objects that reveal, eventually, what we are. “The mankind is also present through those objects being used for centuries and decades to facilitate their lives and to meet needs,” Schallenberg says. It is not a matter of only created objects, for the Berlin-based painter, one finds them closer and more connected to in his approach to make every single subject live on.

Spannweite, 2018

It is this physical enlargement of the object on the “picture” the means to fairly catch the attention, in an intent to make it part of the very being in front of the image. With that watchful eye, feelings and reflection arise and translate into a beautiful collusion between the image on the painting and its spectators. “These objects were to make it easier for the mankind. The human is a being with needs that have been met by the invention of many items until the atomic bomb. It is not a plain object, but there are some others that have enriched the lives of all. When we think that many objects are seen on the still life painting, my still life painting, but exent of people, then I would say that we do find them in it, since they have created these objects; they are present in the objects depicted on the paintings,” Schallenberg assesses.

Since the objects on Schallenberg´s paintings might be believed as dead, the painter grants them life again while and after composing them together on a picture. The composition is based on a non “orthodox” conccept. Schallenberg conveys every single object the freedom to follow its own sense. Regarded as the director of a play, he respects the unique aspect of his object characters, his actresses and actors in the screenplay. As a matter of fact, he created a script, “every object has a role to play, they get my instructions, but l let them find the exact extent that depicts a harmonic balance on the screen (painting),” he details. Schallenberg adds “If I´m to reproduce this life sense on the picture, then the objects shouldn´t be raped or idealized in a concept. I better keep them open to an interaction with others to pave the way to something new, for life on the picture from the interaction in it.”

A simple worm crawling out or in depicts a form of living that takes place in the earth. The beauty of the Schallenberg´s artworks relies on the “animated” peace of mind and stillness that his works grant.

Nexus, 2017
Oil on canvas

Mirko Schallenberg speaks of a meditative approach. “Yes, meditation (laughs). I have to sit in from of the picture like a Buddhist. When I´m in front of the painting, I´m the first spectator, and I hope they tell me something at a low voice, I expect them to whisper. When they do that, I feel that I´m on the right track,” Schallenberg acknowledges. He also reveals that this practice is a result from years of trials. He actually had a classic academic foundation at the university Hochschule für Bildende Kunst in Braunschweig under the eyes of Hermann Albert and other great German masters. Schallenberg was a cofounder of the Berlin painters group Konvention. (1995), which later created their own gallery to present their works back then.

Schachtelung, 2017
Oil on canvas


Even though one would expect a classic still life painting from him, Schallenberg pursued something else in it. His works are very structured presented. “Yeah, I think my paintings have architecturally presented objects and their transformations. People would recognize this. I´m a person who thinks like an architect. I always try to find a balance between solid and liquid status on my paintings, rigid and motion,” he asserts. When asked about the unique aspect of his artworks, Schallenberg recalls that he actually had wondered how he could take the old genre still life and object painting into a new form. He´d found in the architecture a perfect match for his innovative reflections. The object pyramid shown in his artworks resulted in giving the starting point for objects to be physically connected.

This architectural thought does not rule out the Buddhistic idea of ultra connection of things, which is, in a way, very much anchored in Schallenberg´s artworks, thus “matching concept and content as whole and projection of today´s world…” Is this the very reason why Mirko Schallenberg finds the greatest satisfaction when his painting brings “still” sparkle to a space and, above all, to a special place in the collector´s life ? Humanistic, human.

By Vincent Echenique

instagram: @iam_vincech

twitter: @VinceEchenique


Mirko Schallenber

Galerie Friedmann-Hahn Berlin, Germany

Current exhibition: NIGREDO - Galerie Friedmann-Hahn Berlin, Germany


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