Phantom pain, the word is certainly more common than phantom islands. How those islands that can be found in old maps, but which did not exist at all, are related to the pain, and what all this has to do with Philipp Fürhofer's light boxes, is wonderful to think about when you walk past them.

Eva-Maria Magel

Senior cultural editor Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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Towards a curtain, as we know them from wholesale market halls, from slaughterhouses or from industry. You can slip through the slits of the painted plastic sheets, like in a palm grove. Nothing else seems to be seen on it.

Don't fall for the scenes

In general, palm trees and somewhat exotic plants are quite obvious to the painter Philipp Fürhofer, who was born in Augsburg in 1982 and trained in Berlin. But you can't fall for his jungle scenes, the supposed sunsets and lush, inviting forest clearings. Just as the postcard idyll of Lake Wolfgang is shattered as if in shards in order to discreetly bring out fractures, destruction, illusion, it is not far off with other ideal worlds.

The sunset: A forest fire. The filigree lianas: outlines of a human rib cage, carved in whitish lines in acrylic. The landscape in the foreground: fragments of Hollywood kisses. In the Metzler foyer of the Städel Museum, the link between the historical art institute and the underground collection of contemporary art, very current works have been presented for almost two years, including site-specific works.

Fürhofer's direct predecessor at this location, Michael Anthony Müller, had covered all the walls with a commissioned work, and in addition to works from the past three years, Fürhofer is showing the new curtain that fits perfectly. Not only because Fürhofer also works as a stage designer at major international theatres. But because the hall has a mirrored side and columns anyway, After all, the acrylic glass boxes with which he, who always sees himself as a painter, has been working for a good ten years, are also tricky boxes made of so-called spy mirrors, painted, processed, scratched, scratched on both sides, reverse glass painting as in Fürhofer's Bavarian homeland meets the letters of the promises of happiness from the Internet, fresh, Beautiful, healthy.

Thus, illuminated with LEDs, the fragility of the human body, whose bones and vessels Fürhofer radically traces back to their naturalness by making them appear as parts of landscape and plants, the light makes it possible.

To do this, you have to take a very close look at the extremely attractive boxes, whose light goes on and off so nicely. And while in Fürhofer's four-part "Return" from 2021, the yellow LED sunlight slowly rises and sets again, leaving behind an emptiness and only one's own reflection, one can feel the phantom pain.

Phantom Islands, Philipp Fürhofer, until 5 November Städel Museum Frankfurt, Tuesday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 18 p.m., Thursday until 21 p.m. A catalogue will be published on 17 July, accompanied by