Norbert Bisky

'Mirror Society'

Chaotic explosions, ambiguous physical struggles between male figures, and nostalgic smiling young models typify the contradictory images in the paintings of Norbert Bisky. The German artist’s canvases are executed with a flat, straightforward application of sumptuously colored paint, laid down in brisk gestures that parallel the dynamism of the works’ content. Drawing on a range of sources, from the Socialist Realism art and propaganda of his youth in the former German Democratic Republic to Christian symbols to homoerotic imagery, the artist presents viewers with complex compositions that suggest — yet ultimately confound — perceptible narratives.

Signature image for Norbert Bisky exhibition
Norbert Bisky, "NO SIGNAL," 2018, oil on canvas, 129 x 189 in. overall. Courtesy of the artist and KÖNIG GALERIE. Photo by Bernd Borchardt.

In Mirror Society, the artist presents a series of recent works uniquely collaged with canvas from previous paintings that has been slashed and reapplied to a mirrored surface. These composite arrangements deconstruct the figure into fragments of torsos, limbs, and faces violently intersecting with abstracted bursts of saturated color and the mirrors’ fractal reflections. The viewer is confronted with half-hidden, half-bared images of beautiful youth as well as their own gaze, trapped in a voyeuristic feedback loop. With these works, Bisky comments on the narcissism of a society deeply engaged in the production and consumption of a dizzying onslaught of images in viral media, ambivalent to the violence and turmoil of global events.

About the artist

A central figure in contemporary figurative painting, Norbert Bisky (b. 1970, Leipzig, Germany) studied at the Berlin University of the Arts with artists Georg Baselitz and Jim Dine and at Universidad Complutense in Madrid. Bisky’s work has been exhibited in international museums, galleries, and biennials including G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig; Villa Arson, Nice; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Haifa Museum of Art; National Museum of Korea, Seoul; König Galerie, Tokyo; Leo Koenig Inc., New York; Baró Galeria, São Paulo; and Galerie Templon, Paris. His works are held in the collections of the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, among others. Born and raised in the former German Democratic Republic, Bisky witnessed the daily reality and subsequent collapse of a totalitarian state. In his work, the artist combines this experience with impressions from subsequent travels, commenting on pop culture and contemporary media in colorful scenes evoking themes of beauty, sexuality, violence, and destruction. Bisky lives and works in Berlin and Málaga.

Install Views


Mirror Society is organized by SCAD Museum of Art associate curator Ben Tollefson and presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2022.

Museum Admission

The exhibition is free for museum members and SCAD students, faculty, and staff with a valid SCAD Card. Open to the public with the cost of museum admission.


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