The Thing Itself
René Wirths

July 2, 2011 – Sept. 18, 2011 Deze tentoonstelling is afgelopen
With almost fifty paintings, the Kunsthal Rotterdam proudly presents the first ever exhibition in the Netherlands of work by Berlin artist René Wirths. Wirths paints images of everyday objects such as a bike, a loaf of bread and a worn-out shoe, all in minute detail and on large format canvases.

His accurate painting technique allows him to reproduce exactly what he sees. Set against a neutral, white background, his meticulous compositions force the observer to view the object ‘an sich', which means ‘as it is' in German. Wirths redefines our view of reality in a very special way.

A fresh look at everyday things

Wirths has translated a wide range of three-dimensional objects into two dimensions on canvas: a paintbrush, a sewing machine, a ball, scrunched-up paper, and a variety of chairs and bicycles. The objects have been illustrated from above or from the side using a time-consuming painting process. His chosen subjects are built up of layers piled one on top of the other as it were, first using bold brush strokes before applying fine strokes and minute detail. Wirths allows his objects to ‘pose' in his daylight studio. The objects are illustrated on canvas without context and without distraction from their surroundings. The paintings are all about what you see, what is evident, and all isolated from the rest of reality.

The composition of the objects in relation to the canvas has been accurately thought out, the dimensions of the objects determining the format of the painting. In fact, the only thing that Wirths determines is the choice of format. The objects on the canvas can be just slightly larger than in reality, or many times larger. His paintings play with our sense of perception creating a feeling of alienation.

René Wirths

René Wirths (1967) was born in Waldbröl, Germany, and lives and works in Berlin. His work has been exhibited in galleries in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Prague, Leipzig, Marseille and Genoa, but has never before been brought together in a museological overview.

06. René Wirths - LR.jpg
Bolletje snijtouw, 2009


The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Hatje Cantz Verlag.


The exhibition is a collaboration with Galerie Michael Haas, Berlin.

04. René Wirths - LR.jpg
Cassette, 2007
02.René Wirths - LR.jpg
Slablad, 2006
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Schedel, 2009