How can you describe this art? Walpurgis Night, Pandemonium? In the 20th century happiness is the exception, misfortune rules. That’s what these images are about. They are hard to swallow, they are not easy to digest. Somebody is painting here with the paw of the lion, "an ax for the frozen sea within us" (Kafka). Gehse has no certainty, and he sums it up for our present times, in which we in fact have no certainty. In this respect, he is very modern. Gehse paints a world in which dream, nightmare and reality amalgamate in comic, frightening, but especially in mysterious ways.


Held together by a masterful painting technique, ranging from illusionistic objectivity over excellently jotted sketches, to colorful violent orgies, Gehse takes us in with scenes that apparently go haywire. At second glance,
they arrange themselves to appear as myths of unmistakable style. People and history appear in scenarios that defy traditional iconography. Throughout the route, idyll is close to disaster. Laughter is joined by horror, eating by being eaten. Strong art takes courage, from the artist, but also from the audience. Gehse’s cycle "Riot - 50 Pictures of the World" is a test of courage. A worthwhile one.


Prof. Christoph Stölzl

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