“My contemporary practice fuses the intellectual rigor of a philosopher with the ironic eye from commercial iconography. Through stories based on history and on societal critique, I dissect concepts of Authenticity, Technology and Purpose. Art critique Lucie-Smith called my art Pop Expressionism.”
Known primarily for his large-format narrative paintings and sculptural work exploring the contradictions and idiosyncrasies of contemporary life, Philipp Rudolf Humm is an artist with a long history of skillfully manipulating the iconography of popular culture. A philosopher by training, Humm began image making at a young age until, like Gauguin before him, a career in business took him away from his own practice and saw him apply his talents instead to roles such as CEO of Vodafone and Amazon.
On returning to his first passion, Humm’s contemporary practice brought together the intellectual rigour of a trained philosopher with the cynical eye of one used to deploying the iconography of commercial imagery. Through stories based on history and on societal critique, Humm dissects concepts of authenticity, absurdity, time and existence. Figures familiar from advertising, film and celebrity culture people canvases, that themselves reference icons of classical art - Botticelli’s Venus, Manet’s Olympia, Fouquet’s Melun Diptych Madonna -, find their way into Humm’s art. Compositions are defined by both their origins in Heideggerian existentialist and metaphysical thinking, and by their rendering in a hard-edged, Pop Art style that saw critic Edward Lucie-Smith label Humm as the first ‘Pop-Expressionist.’
Humm was born 1959 in Germany. He studied Philosophy, then Business and on returning to his art practice studied at London’s Fine Art Studio School and Florence’s Academy of Art. His vita includes solo shows at London’s Riflemaker and Hix galleries and at an exclusive event at Saatchi and PURE London. He has been a finalist for Ashurst, Circle Foundation, Sunny Art Centre and Broadway Art Festival, and his work has been included in group shows in London (Walton Fine Arts), Germany (Sans Titre, Werkhallen), NYC (Sothebys with NY Academy of Arts) and Venice (Contemporary), In 2018 he is exhibiting with Saphira & Ventura in Los Angeles and NYC and at the Museum of Nevada in Las Vegas.
This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist