Kenny Scharf

*1958 in Los Angeles (CA), USA

Kenny Scharf, Jungle Jism, 1985, oil, acrylic and enamel varnish on canvas, 284,5 x 207 cm, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

Kenny Scharf’s work Jungle Jism features a number of animals that open up an unreal and fantastic visual world. Their forms are based on real animals, but in Scharf’s style they become colourful, comic-anthropomorphic creatures. The plants undergo the same transformation, so that the palm tree on the left edge of the picture appears less like a living plant and more like a mechanical construct due to its shimmering metallic surface and the trunk divided into uniform elements.
In the colouring of animals and plants, Scharf uses the same colour palette of purple, magenta tones and various shades of yellow, making animals and plants almost indistinguishable at first glance. This front picture plane stands out clearly due to the complementary contrast with the blue-green background.
Kenny Scharf takes American pop culture and graffiti art as a starting point and describes his colourful, comic-like style as Pop Surrealism.

JL