Who Knew Leipzig Fostered So Much Talent?

Leipzig Unfolding at The Lloyds Club ★★★★☆

Rachel Stoplar
By Rachel Stoplar Last edited 34 months ago
Who Knew Leipzig Fostered So Much Talent? Leipzig Unfolding at The Lloyds Club 4
Phainesthai III by Falk Messerschmidt.

In-the-know travel types have been dubbing Leipzig 'the new Berlin' for a while — now it's time for art types to join in. The creative talents of the former Soviet town are now on show in the heart of the City at The Lloyds Club's latest, Leipzig Unfolding.

Works from graduates of the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst grace the walls of three floors of this private members club's Grade II townhouse.

A nice surprise for a group show is the amount of cohesion in Lavinia Freitas's curation: Martin Groß's mesmerising patterned black and white relief prints lead naturally up the stairs to Christiane Baumgartner's woodcut prints on Japanese paper, giving industrial landscapes the texture and serenity of traditional Asian ink-and-paper work.

There's also a nice echo of Claus Georg Stabe's virtuosic work — he creates shimmering metallic canvasses with brooding Rothko-esque colour schemes entirely with a ballpoint pen — in the sheen of Thomas Sommer's lightboxes.

We frequently couldn't decide if a young artist was influenced by or derivative of the greats before them. Sommer's tree-filled vitrines do have a a shade of Anselm Kiefer about them, Steffen Jughans's luxuriant photograph of a cardinal is indebted to Velasquez, Christoph Ruckhäberle's enamel paintings put Picasso's reclining figures in Matisse's interiors, while Falk Messerschmidt's photomontages recall the work of John Stezaker.

Yet the latter's Phainesthai series is an intriguing and original piece: a Surrealist group of people with their faces obscured by cut-off borders, overexposure and a kind of Rorschach test blob, amounting to a tantalising anti-portrait. Also of note are Hans Aichinger's almost three-dimensional painting of hands and shadows and Annette Schröter's silhouetted papercut landscapes.

This who's who of contemporary German art is also a bit of a who's who of the European canon — but breathing fresh life into old favourites is no bad thing.

Leipzig Unfolding is at The Lloyds Club, 42 Crutched Friars EC3N 2AP, until 17 February. Open to the public with free entry Monday to Friday, 9am-noon and 3pm-5pm. Ring ahead to check all rooms are open: 020 7863 6680.

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Gelbe Farbe macht aus Spatzen Kanarienvögel by Famed, 2012
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Untitled by Christoph Ruckhaberle, 2014
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Geometrie by Hans Aichinger, 2011
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Botschafterinnen by Rosa Loy, 2013

Last Updated 05 October 2015