Thomas Virnich (*1957 in Eschweiler, Germany) is a tireless creator of two, and above all, three-dimensional works. Life and work are inseparable for him; his treatment of passions always appears to be playful. Virnich lives with his family in a former schoolhouse in Mönchengladbach, where fantastical architecture, distant planets and galaxies, baffling creatures and collected artefacts bustle around in various stages of the artistic processes – a strange cosmos, a warped world. The materials, which range from paper, papier-mâché, cardboard to wood, clay and bronze, always bear traces of the handmade production process. Architecture is a particularly important theme for Virnich, which will also be seen in the exhibition at Galerie Michael Haas. Virnich examines the transition from area to volume, the variation of familiar shapes by means of destruction and reconstruction, and the design of space. His constructions are a mixture of various architectural elements, reflecting his interest in old temples, monuments and gothic cathedrals. Yet they have no specific function and are freely developed. Due to an assembly-based method of working and the seemingly organic facade elements, Virnich’s architecture becomes ensouled and alive.
“What I am doing here is a process which leads to an image. The subject that interests me to work with it is there three-dimensionally. It becomes a reflection of my idea the more I cut it open. But by means of the intervention I get closer to the truth. I like that Michelangelo illegally cut open human corpses in order to fathom what life is… In my architecture I like to use unusual as well as soft or brittle materials, which I later cast in bronze: Something for eternity, – architecture as a living figure; and if a church should move, all the history it has seen shall once more come back to life…” (Thomas Virnich)
Thomas Virnich studied from 1978 until 1981 at the RWTH 1985 at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Alfonso Hüppi and Eugen Gomringer. In 1987 he was awarded the Villa Romana Prize and in 1991 the Villa Massimo Prize. Virnich, who has been professor at the University of Visual Art Braunschweig since 1992, has exhibited in numerous solo and group shows since his time as a student. Institutions such as the Museum Wiesbaden, the Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Städtische Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach as well as diverse ‘Kunstvereins’ all staged exhibitions in recent years. In the Museum DKM in Duisburg a comprehensive exhibition with works from the last three decades can be viewed until 25 August and from September 2015 he will show his bronze sculptures in Tony Cragg’s sculpture garden in Waldfrieden near Wuppertal. In addition to paintings, Galerie Michael Haas will present bronze sculptures, ceramics and papier-mâché works all created this year.