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Thomas Kuppler

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Birth year

Lives in

Works in


Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, 2012

Representing galleries
Radial Art Contemporain Strasbourg

conceptual, abstract, photography, modern, surrealism, video-art, installation, mixed-media

Current Work Practice

My practice has always been concerned with the expressive painting of portraits in order to reveal deep thoughts, reflections and various sentiments. Those portraits were  a reflection and mirror of myself and an alternative kind of self portrait. In relationship to this my creation of still lifes is accomplished through the use of photography. The decaying process and metamorphosis of an apple documented through photographs became the beginning of an alternative method of expressing inner fears. The association with the ageing process of a person made it an alternative mirror to the portraits.  The “memento mori” immortality of a photograph leads me to my current art practice merging ‘painting’ and photo , portrait and still life into one to create a new highly personalized style, which could only be described as an evolution of still life.

The unconscious expression of feelings and “drive sublimation” through my artwork forced me to go a step further and abstract it to a level where the viewer needs to engage with the work and ideally ultimately use it as a cathartic outlet function and a legitimate way to participate in his own socialized daydreams.[1]

The engagement with the viewer is a vital necessity for me. Communicating through my work I want him to be involved in the interpretation process of the image and not simply rely on the artist’s explanation or description of the image.


This abstraction of my work is accomplished through the forced interaction of two elements: the mechanical process of making a photograph and physical/manual process of adding paint or digital created “paint and obscursion” to modify the reality, structure, meaning and appearance of the photograph. The subjects chosen for the photographs are highly important. They initially work as “a mirror” of self-identification and myself. The selection of the roundly shaped object placed along the subject is up to sitter, creating an initial relationship between him and the object. This relationship is later on concealed through obscuring the sitter’s head and the object with black circles. The obstructive circle is used as a vital signifier and symbol, the repetition of which will force the viewer to question the formal qualities of the work. It serves as an obstruction in order to conceal what lies beneath and ultimately abstracts the portrait in it self.

Developing that method further, I started using also landscapes and buildings to be obscured, keeping the idea in mind to look behind the surface.

The meaning of the original photographs has to be questioned and the meaning of the resulting “painting” made far more subjective and open to debate. “While a painting can never be other than a narrowly selective interpretation, a photograph can be treated as narrowly selected transparency”[2]


Though the methodology of my work seems to be quite complex, merging two different themes, incorporating mechanical and manual creation processes and finally concealing parts of it through “over painting” , my message is quite simple: Dealing with the hidden drives, feelings and sentiments of one's self and forcing the viewer through obscuration into a thought process about his own feelings and drives.

[1]    Elmar Waibl (2009). Ästetik und Kunst von Pythagoras bis Freud. Vienna: Facultas WUV UTB. p240-249.

[2]    Susan Sontag (1979). On photography. London: Penguin Books. p6.

Recent Exhibits

Thomas Kuppler participated in these exhibits:

Dec, 2010 Conventional Wisdom
Icosahedron Gallery
Dec, 2010 Conventional Wisdom
Icosahedron Gallery
6th 2014 Showcase Entry


Thomas Kuppler still life with circles

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