Norbert Schwontkowski (1949-2013) is perhaps one of Germany’s best kept secrets. Yet these days his poetic work is gradually attracting more and more admirers outside his homeland. Inspired by Zen Buddhism, which he discovered on trips to Asia, he would seek the aesthetic of the moment, creating work that seems to touch upon a story, without ever telling us how it ends. Sometimes his paintings have a deep existential theme, and sometimes they present absurd situations from daily life, like a man rifling through the fridge in the middle of the night, looking for something to still his rumbling stomach.
But the subject is always an individual in search of enlightenment and inspiration in a grim world. Thanks to Schwontkowski’s dry humour his work is never depressing, however. He often prepared by making quick pen sketches in the sketchbook he always carried with him. Everyone Wants to Go Home brings together some 80 paintings and over 40 sketchbooks from international collections, and has been created in collaboration with Kunstmuseum Bonn and Kunsthalle Bremen, where it was shown previously.