Bendix Harms Deathless Rufus: Defend Østerfælden
Bendix Harms’ exhibition, titled Deathless Rufus: Defend Østerfælden, is comprised of over a dozen new paintings of oil on canvas. Images of Rufus the cat, his wife Mari, their farm Østerfælden, and the Blackcap birds he sees daily, quite literally merge with objects like flowers, guns, and always with words… MY JUSTICE / DEFEND YOUR ANGST / NO WAY / HOPE IS MY MILK!
The protagonist of Harms’ exhibition is his cat Rufus, here defending Østerfælden. In one painting Rufus appears enormous, four times larger than the farmhouse, in another he wears a suit of armor. He defends their way of life and their home, protecting them from enemies, both physical and mental. In Mein Blick (My View), 2017, the artist depicts his “universe” – the one inside him and the one that surrounds him. His eyes, outlined in terracotta-colored dots over a dense black background, are filled with his two favorite subjects: Mari in his right eye, melting together with the farm; and in the left are Rufus and two Blackcaps. Mari and Rufus, painted in Titanium white, reach for each other in a love embrace over the infinite cosmos.
The artist states: “My problem-maker and image-maker in my head is always searching for singular problems and their solutions in content and form. Only form smells like decoration, only content smells like illustration.” Harms refers to himself as a German Contentist, shaping his stories through dripped dots, layered strikes, chiseled gestures, scratches, and pressed strokes, sometimes very colorful, and other times closer to monochromatic, depending on the individual voice of the subject at hand. Painting in this redacted style, he recreates his chosen subjects as exaggerated abstractions, which can more clearly translate his mind, his heart, the immortal Rufus, and his cherished realm of Østerfælden.
All images: Deathless Rufus: Defend Østerfælden, 2018. Photography courtesy of Morán Morán