Harding Meyer paints faces, just faces, but the first thing one notices is their eyes. They are at the centre of the 46-year-old artist's work; they are its core element. They catch the viewer's eye; they literally force him into the picture. The neck of the portrayed persons is cut off and their hair line is barely visible. The viewer hardly can avoid those eyes and he is unable to interrupt communications. This makes Meyer's art so powerful.
Harding Meyer was born in Porto Alegre/Brazil in 1964. In 1987, he started his studies at Karlsruhe Art Academy under Professor Max Kaminski, and then he moved on to study under Professor Helmut Dorner, who, in turn, was a student of Gerhard Richter at Düsseldorf Art Academy. Today, Meyer lives and works near Karlsruhe.
Meyer has been painting faces for the past 15 years. Working on canvas is only part of the artist's creative process. At first, he looks for models and browses through magazines, TV programmes, and the web, in particular. It is the gut feeling that decides, he says, he does not choose a photo out of sympathy or because it shows a beautiful face. Nor is he interested in the background story, and so he removes each photo from its original context. All his paintings are untitled and celebrities can no longer be identified, just as the Kurdish girl who died in a combat. It takes him three to six months to complete one work of art, and in between the different steps, he tears off the wet upper paint coat of the painting with a coating knife.“ In Meyer's works, even beautiful people are never simply attractive. The viewer's eyes do not glide along the surface of the face - on the contrary. What is the matter with you? Through a person's eyes you can look into his inner self, as they say, and Meyer counts on this reflex. Thus you can advance to what is the philosophical core; it is all about the image of the human being in the present times, a state description of human nature.
When looking at Meyer's paintings for a longer time you get the impression that something eerie emanates from them. They are not a piece of decorative art. Meyer is a fisherman who catches his models with a scoop net from the digital data stream. These faces, however, do not have anything original. They are not natural, because they already were edited in studios and cutting rooms or edited in Photoshop.
These faces have overcome the status of standardization. Meyer gives them individuality. We should not forget that the faces that Meyer paints once existed.
The fact that these portraits seem to be quite real in spite of their open artificiality makes the viewer ponder for a long time.