To say that Michael Werner is discerning would be an extreme understatement. When the gallerist – who opened his space in Berlin in 1963 with Georg Baselitz, now one of the most in-demand living painters, and had longstanding relationships with names from Sigmar Polke to Per Kirkeby – shows a younger artist, you know it is someone to watch. The painter Florian Krewer – who, in April, is showing with the gallery in London for the first time – has big things ahead of him.
Krewer studied under Peter Doig at the well-respected Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, graduating in 2017, and is still based in the city. This debut London show Car Park Godiva (prices from around £15,000) showcases his atmospheric, neo-naïve paintings beautifully.
All Krewer’s paintings begin with personal or found images, which he cuts, collages and reworks into studies for the canvas compositions (such as Everybody Rise, with its leaping figures). The people in his work crouch and run – often set against white or black backgrounds, their faces smudged – and feel pensive, even menacing at times. They always seem part of a narrative, yet the story or connection to his own life is never clear.
The artist had a successful show at the New York project space Tramps in 2018, and Werner partner Gordon VeneKlasen, who was hugely impressed by the work when it was first introduced to him by Doig, was sold. “Having seen Florian’s work over the years, I was overwhelmed at how the paintings had developed,” VeneKlasen recalls. “Painting is a very traditional medium, and it’s a real struggle for an artist to make something that resonates within that long history – but seeing Florian’s work in person, and getting to know the artist, I became convinced that he has a very original voice. He’s a pure painter.”