Thomas Eggerer is a German-born artist living and working in New York who has been widely exhibited internationally. He studied at Munich’s Art Academy before joining artist collective Group Material before turning back to painting full time. Thomas’ works often depict figures set against vague architectural settings with deliberate imprecision making them archetypical characters which then lead to socially and politically charged narratives.
Early Life and Education
Eggerer began his artistic training at the Art Academy of Munich, Germany before taking a break to join artist collective Group Material in the mid 1990s. Subsequently resuming painting several years later and has exhibited extensively for 15 years since.
Works such as Waste Management (2012) and Carousel (2013) feature brushwork that oscillates from serene modulation to expressive gesture, creating an unpredictable dialogue between alienation and immanence as monochrome, an ideal of anonymous coolness, meets expressive gesture, the signature of painterly self-assertion.
Eggerer also takes an unusual approach in his paintings by forgoing traditional elements of landscape such as horizon lines or other distinguishing features of nature – creating an illusion of confusion between space and scale, giving his compositions the impression of being immersed in gray twilight.
Thomas Eggerer has long explored the intersections between desire, place and history through his paintings. Corridor at Petzel Gallery’s Upper East Side location marks his seventh solo show with this gallery and explores contemporary issues through themes found within contemporary events.
He creates visual tension through formal means in his works that produce vertigo through formal contradictions. Figurative vignettes drawn from photographic sources become detached from their surroundings, floating freely within abstract fields. His painting Corridor for instance depicts figures painted slightly smaller than life size with uncanny presence that seems similar to marionettes being drawn.
Eggerer’s artwork explores how visual connections break down, from group portraits to depictions where figures seemingly sprout out of nowhere and then disintegrate like transplanted organs on the ground. The disconnection is central to his practice. This motif can be seen throughout his practice from depicting groups to scenes depicting figures repelled like transplanted organs by nature.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas Eggerer has shown in at least 24 solo exhibitions and his works can be found in at least six public collections. Additionally, he has participated in 16 art fairs and one biennial, striving to achieve a balance between abstraction and materiality in his oeuvre.
His latest paintings depict figures engaging in activities which the painting freezes and renders unintelligible or unclear. Abstract registers like stains, softly scumbled areas and rhetorically gestural flourishes clash with depictive figures that are drawn from found photographs yet do not follow photorealism exactly.
He has shown his work at several acclaimed galleries, such as 15 Orient in New York; Maureen Paley Gallery in London; Richard Telles Fine Art of Los Angeles; Galerie Buchholz-Cologne; Frans Hals Museum Haarlem and Kunstverein Braunschweig Germany, among others. Additionally he taught at Bard College.
Thomas Eggerer’s art explores the social ramifications of collectivism and participation. His depictions of groups of people lost in architecturally indecipherable settings are enhanced with deliberate imprecision and artificial hues to further emphasize his message. His works offer insightful commentary on human interactions and have earned him much renown. As part of notable group shows at David Zwirner (New York); Queer Thoughts (New York); Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Munich and La Biennale de Lyon, as well as solo shows at 15 Orient (Brooklyn); Maureen Paley’s Studio M Location in London (Maureen Paley’s Studio M); Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles and Petzel | W 18th Street New York,
Eggerer creates his figurative vignettes using an unusual mixture of relaxing modulated paint strokes with pentimenti suggesting unsettling, out-of-place presences that provoke both visual and psychological tension. His aesthetic draws its inspiration from the 1980s; an era characterized by political upheaval, significant wealth disparity, mass media saturation and distinctive music/fashion culture.
Thomas Eggerer’s technique does not focus on ideal beauty or aesthetics, but instead seeks out that small margin between painterly emotion and organized intellect that exists between his paintings. This area of tension created by juxtaposing seemingly contrary motives is evident in his collages exhibited alongside them.
His compositions–epitomes of public space–strive to anonymise street scenes by giving them a bird’s-eye perspective that invokes surveillance, as well as by depicting authority figures like ConEdison logos or Department of Water Supply acronyms stamped onto manhole covers; civilians and bureaucrats collide and clash in these scenes.
Thomas Eggerer’s work has been featured in no less than 24 solo exhibitions and 58 group shows since 1999, including Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig in Vienna as part of four museum collections.