Studio Visit: Jochen Mühlenbrink

In June we had the pleasure of visiting the studio of artist Jochen Mühlenbrink.

His vast studio looks out over the Düsseldorf skyline from the top floor of a former ring-binder factory. Panoramic windows offer an ever changing view of the mundane urban sprawl below and the expansive midday sky above, from a space almost designed for the still contemplation of the exterior world. It is no surprise that Jochen devotes so much of his artistic output painting these views. Not of downtown Düsseldorf specifically but imagined views of the unremarkable suburban housing development on the edge of every town, depicted through a crisp coating of early morning mist. The daily routine paused briefly by a spontaneous doodle on the window before it evaporates away and you clock in for work.

Turning back into the studio from the Düsseldorf views you see these windows spread throughout Jochen’s studio in various stages of completion. A cavernous polythene walled spray booth is the first stage of their gestation, where the bleary eyed views of a new skyline emerge. Before heading out into a light filled corner of the studio for the meticulous details to be applied in oils.

We are here with a job to do as Jochen is signing his much anticipated debut print release ‘WP (The House)’. Clearing space in his studio to sign them you are never quite sure what you are picking up. A half used roll of brown parcel tape that will be useful later is actually a sculpture made from cast bronze and would break more than a couple of toes if knocked from the edge of the table. A discarded polythene filing sleeve, a relic from the factory’s past, is in fact a clear resin painting patiently going through it’s curing process and can’t be disturbed.

The more time spent here the more you doubt your perception. Is that actually a pile of old artwork packaging stacked out of the way in a dark corner awaiting recycling or is it a carefully created oil on canvas assemblage? Everything plays with the perceptual ambiguity inherent in our reading of the visual landscape.

By now we are almost done with the job at hand. The prints have been signed, lunch has been ate and Jochen inspects a series of new window paintings before they head to California.

Actual parcel tape is requested and retrieved by Jochen from a store cupboard presumably labelled “real things” and the edition is ready for its journey back to our studio, ahead of it’s release on Thursday 21st July here.

‘WP (The House)’
Edition of 60
23 Layer Silkscreen
67 x 80 cm
Somerset Satin 300gsm
£400 + shipping

It was a carefully created oil on canvas assemblage by the way…