I have been following
the work of Josef Florian Krichbaum with great pleasure for many years. He is one of the few artists of our time to use the technique of the old masters and invent poetic visual narratives. While initially creating mostly small-format pictures, the artist now also tackles large formats with an equal measure of quality and narrative density, reminiscent of Franz Sedlacek and the Magic Realism of the New Objectivity.
The meticulous care he dedicates to even the preparation of support bases, is unusual in this day and age. With the same meticulousness and a special eye for details, marvellous pictures are created, magically attracting the observer, even drawing the viewer into them. The paintings are strangely peculiar, moving in a type of parallel world. These pictures cannot be absorbed fleetingly, in passing; on the contrary, one must look closely indeed to tap the fantastic world: in it, the most multifarious characters cavort, both human and superhuman in nature, mostly in groups, in fantastic landscapes. Guardians, meant to watch over nature and the people, stagger – only too human – drunk out of a city gate. Without further ado, the Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault is turned into a sleigh ride in the snow. But where is the ride going? It is not only a pleasure ride, for after all, the sleigh carries packed carpets, clothes, books, and food. And who would ever fly flags on a sled?
The artist’s joy in depicting absurd situations, exaggerated postures and unusual perspectives makes itself felt. But behind the amusement the pictures so fundamentally emanate, lies the artist’s critical view of nature, society and the manner in which we interact with each other. This is what he desires to show us, by means of a fine brush and quiet tones. Let’s look with him!
Mag. Elisabeth Dutz | Collection of the Austrian National Bank
The magic realism of Josef Florian Krichbaum
I call paintings “micro paintings” that are significantly smaller even than the already miniature-like tendency of my “normal
small formats”: Often no bigger than a postage stamp, they present a particular challenge, calling for a sharp eye and a steady hand. Like the other pictures, they are painted with the naked eye; I use a magnifying glass only for inspection. This manner of working is a fever all its own and is an exciting contrast for me to the very large formats I sometimes work with.
Thematically, I remain faithful to my world, but the pictures are often “airier” and funnier than the larger pictures with thier strong psychological tendency.