Press Release

The Stäel Museum presents a solo exhibition by artist Philipp Fühofer with 16 works altogether, including a site-specific artwork. In the rooms devoted to the museum’ contemporary art collection, the artist will stage a mystical jungle landscape in which nothing is as it seems to be.



International exhibitions

International Archives 1st half of 2023

Philipp Fürhofer, Phantom Islands

Städel Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main (Germany)

12.05 - 05.11.2023




In the exhibition, sunsets and tropical forests shine out at the viewer from paintings and light boxes, their slowly pulsating light creating an enigmatic atmosphere. With a work conceived especially for the show, he moreover reacts to the architecture of the place: a curtain nearly six metres high echoes motifs from the seemingly paradisiacal landscapes around it. The visitors are invited to step through the curtain and take a look at what is behind.

Philipp Demandt, Director of the Städel Museum, comments: “hilipp Fürhofer’ artistic devices are illusion and the questioning of reality. In his art he focuses on the human being and nature. Transcending the canvas medium, he develops a contemporary answer to Romanticist painting. Fürhofer’ works challenge us to reflect on the world we live in and address the urgent matters of our time.”

The exhibition’ title Phantom Islands is an allusion to once-mapped islands whose existence was later refuted. The romanticism of Fürhofer’ forests and beaches prove similarly deceptive. Scratched-open layers of paint reveal the question as to the existential mutual influence between human being and nature, between the capitalist civilization and its ongoing destruction of its own habitat. With pop-culture references, the artist calls attention to humankind’ constantly growing desire to control itself and its immediate surroundings in times of upheaval and uncertainty.

In Fühofer’ works, nature presents itself as a place of the longing for perfection and the continuation of the ecosystem for all eternity. Many of his works are distinguished by a cyclical narrative structure ranging from growth to decay. His light boxes, in which the swelling and ebbing light reveals various sceneries, are a case in point. With his motifs the artist activates our pop-cultural visual memory, for example by processing picture postcards, idyllic landscape images, film posters and the like and has them reappear in his works in abstracted form.

Philipp Fühofer (born in Augsburg in 1982) lives and works in Berlin. From 2002 to 2008, he studied at the Universitä der Küste / College of Fine Arts in Berlin. His oeuvre spans the mediums of painting, installation and object art. Solo presentations have taken place at, for example, the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt in 2017 and the Augsburg Kunstverein in 2016, group exhibitions featuring his work at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in 2022, the Künstlerhaus Dortmund in 2016 and elsewhere. Fürhofer’ encounter with the theatre director Hans Neuenfels during his studies was seminal for his stage sets in the world’ most prestigious opera houses, works which have won him numerous international awards. He has moreover carried out designs for exhibitions such as Du bist Faust (Kunsthalle München 2018) and the retrospective Thierry Mugler Couturissime (Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and Kunsthal Rotterdam 2019, Kunsthalle München 2020).

Director: Dr Philipp Demandt

Curator: Svenja Grosser (Deputy Head of the Collection of Contemporary Art)

Exhibition 12 May - 05 November  2023. Städel Museum, Schaumainkai 63 - 60596 Frankfurt am Main (Germany). T +49 69 605098200. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 - 18:00, Thursday 10:00 - 21:00.






Philip Fürhofer, Phantom Islands, Städel Museum, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved

View of Philipp Fürhofer: Phantom Islands, 2023. Photo: Städel Museum—Norbert Miguletz.