Andreas Felger, Fukushima, 2011
Oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm © AFKS
200 x 200 cm


The title of the painting reveals its political reference: it was created in 2011 as a reaction to the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, which cost thousands of lives and caused mass homelessness, health and environmental damage. Between a blood-red cloud against a dark sky and explosion-bright light, a bright red circle dominates the top center of the image: nuclear center, darkened sun, and mutilated country motif all at once. The circle’s narrow white border floats above the chaos of disaster like the remnant of a tattered and soiled Japanese flag. Hatchings in shades of red and blue diverge in all directions, tearing and overlapping, merging with freely furious brush gestures. A network of red dabs appears above the skulls at the edge of the picture like a burial ground. Human existence becomes a textile metaphor here-everything is interconnected and interwoven, including life and death.

In Fukushima, Felger captures the factual as well as emotional core of the life-destroying catastrophe in his visual language with equal criticality and empathy, without depicting it directly. The large format reinforces the impressive effect of the canvas, in which formal aspects from different phases of the artist’s work are condensed into an explosive unity: Gestural and figurative, geometric and hatched structures meet explosively.

Text by Christina Thomson

Christina Thomson holds a PhD in art history and is an employee of the National Museums in Berlin. In addition to freelance work for the Nationalgalerie, she worked for the Andreas Felger Kulturstiftung from 2012 to 2017, most recently in the position of executive director. As the foundation’s scientific director, editor of numerous Felger publications, and curator of the exhibitions WERK.STOFF and TEXTUREN, she is one of the long-time experts on the work of Andreas Felger.