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Is This a Painting? Explore the Hyperrealist Franz Gertsch at the Louisiana Museum

Experience the hyperrealist Franz Gertsch at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. See the works that are so lifelike that the boundary between photography and painting disappears in the first comprehensive exhibition of the Swiss artist in Scandinavia.

A Whole New Concept of Realism

When you see it from afar, there's no doubt: a huge photograph hangs on the museum wall. It was taken with an older camera, the colours are true to life, and the subjects are immediate, as if the camera happened to be there by chance.

But when you get closer, when you stand right in front of the picture, you see that it is in fact a painting. The subjects are applied with paint, although they are so realistic that it really is a kind of hyperrealism.

Learn more about Franz Gertsch at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Isn't a Photograph Enough?

It's not entirely wrong that the paintings have something to do with photographs. Franz Gertsch painted from photographs he had taken himself. To achieve the hyperrealistic expression in his art, he used various techniques, including an almost impressionistic dot technique that creates a special effect when viewed up close.

For Franz Gertsch, photography alone wasn't enough. He wanted more out of it, and through the human application of paint, he gave the subject the life that the mechanical camera cannot achieve.

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Enormous Sizes

One of the breathtaking aspects of Franz Gertsch's paintings is their size. When you stand in front of the canvases, you are almost overwhelmed by painted figures that are several metres taller than yourself: five huge men hanging over the fence to a construction site, a portrait of a woman's face in giant size, slender trees in a thicket with leaves the size of your hand.

The First and Last Exhibition

The exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art was created in collaboration with Franz Gertsch himself. However, Gertsch does not manage to experience the exhibition himself, as he passed away in 2022 at the age of 92. It's the first major exhibition of the artist after his death and the last one he was involved in creating.

Franz Gertsch was Swiss and trained at the Max Rudolf von Mühlenen and Hans Schwarzenbach art school in Bern. He participated in documenta 5 in Kassel and the Biennale in Venice, among other events.

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