Leaving the American Dream
Paintings and Sculpture by Wulf Treu
Curated by James Cavello
Wulf Treu is an urban artist inspired by street life in New York City, as well as the influence of his current studio location, a barrio in Miami. The artist’s childhood years in East Berlin play an important role in his work, reflected through symbolic images in his paintings, sculpture, video and mixed media works of art.
Treu’s work parodies underground culture, fetishes, the art world, glorified violence, fashion slaves, nightmares and delusional psychology. The artist’s usage of Pop icons and found objects represents a discourse parallel to the mainstream aesthetic consciousness. Treu incorporates these elements in order to debate the crisis of the self as a centralized identity model. Now more then ever, artists have to shape their work in a context where the plethora of information threatens originality. Wulf’s apparently rough and unfinished paintings represent a reaction to the ever present mass culture and its sleek products. Soldiers and weapons are sometimes evident in Treu’s art, as well as comic relief expressed in the form of youthful toys, games and childlike drawings. Treu explores the idea of the ‘American Dream’ and our search for true happiness.
As a young artist in East Berlin, Treu was stifled, living on the ‘other side’ of the wall. Even the wall itself was an anomaly, completely covered with graffiti on the West side, yet the East side was gray concrete, no graffiti was allowed due to the strict Stasi police. Treu broke out of the austere, authoritative environment and eventually traveled throughout the world, fascinated by street life, outcasts and creative expression.