Dirk Stewen’s drawings, collages and photographs are situated in a strange interspace: They show narrative elements, but no clear frame of reference. His works are highly emotionally charged. Stewen experiments with sexual connotations and clichés of erotic play. His art works are pervaded by powerful obsessions and deal with emotional conditions such as anxiety, vulnerability, exhaustion and humiliation. They appear tender, frivolous and at times aggressive.
Stewen gives his objects physical levity. That stands in contrast with the metaphorical severity of his visual works. His aesthetic language and independence originates from his characteristic selection and usage of material as well as his strong compositions. All his works are inspired by photography, be it watercolor paintings or ink drawings. Stewen purposely uses old paper – without denying its previous existence. That way, questions about authorship arise. Stewen’s use of different materials and his works’ high degree of abstraction create tension and aggressiveness, which are turned into fragility and levity by the casual and transient character of his works.
At Künstlerhaus, Dirk Stewens presents his first solo exhibition in Germany. He will exhibit a purpose-produced series of photographs and collages. The exhibition’s guiding thread are his so-called “confetti pictures”: photo paper that was blackened with highly pigmented ink and decorated with paper and confetti.
Dirk Stewen (born 1972 in Dortmund) lives in Hamburg. He was given a stipend by Neue Kunst in Hamburg e. V. (travel stipend 2005 and exhibition at Kunstverein Hamburg in May/June 2006). In June 2006, he will present a solo exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery at New York City.