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The series of still lifes “Vanitas I-IX” – oil paintings on canvas, created in 2019 – draws on motifs which Hans-Jürgen Bröckl dealt with in the early stages of his creative career in the mid-1980s. For him, fish heads with bare bones are symbols of “vanitas”, of “transience”. What remains of the beautiful, elegant form of the water dwellers is pathetic. The ruffled fish heads give the impression of decay, of the ephemeral. Nevertheless, fish scraps have their own aesthetics, the aesthetics of everything which is transient on earth. Bröckl transforms the motif in various forms, with one, two, three or even four fish heads, with or without an accompanying skeleton, on a plate or on a table or in a corner of the floor, in front of a monochrome or striped wall. It becomes humorous when the fish heads look at the viewer with bright yellow “living” eyes. At one point a skull is added to underline the ephemeral. Grey tones partially emphasise the desolation of the statement of decay. Impermanence is a fundamental part of human beings, something the painter wants to remind us of again and again.

Dr. Werner Chrobak