Romantic landscape painting and the tradition of recounting fairy tales have their roots in the 19th century. The painter Philipp Fröhlich transposes them to the present. In his works Hansel and Gretel are dressed like people of the 21st century, and his scenes of nature, which are rendered in a style that approaches photorealism, provide a sharp contrast to the anti-modernism that is usually associated with fairy tales. While we were able to identify with the heroes from the picture books of our childhood, the figures in Fröhlich’s art seem eerily removed from us. The canvases are huge and give the impression to viewers that they have become part of the pictures themselves.
Fröhlich studied stage design in Düsseldorf until 2002, and gradually switched from theater work to painting. But his artistic approach is still influenced by his initial training. Beginning with notes and preparatory studies, Fröhlich develops models, some of which are elaborately designed, to try out the composition of the future picture. The resulting stage-like, almost cinematic quality of his paintings leads to an intriguing mixture of precise, cool realism and soft painterly effects – as if we were gazing into a distorting mirror between reality and fantasy.