Norbert Schwontkowski, Waiting for Hans, 2010, oil on canvas, 24 × 20".

Norbert Schwontkowski

Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie (CFA)

In Norbert Schwontkowski’s painting Ohne Titel (Dach) (Untitled [Roof]), 2009–12, a group of birds sit on a grid of white roof tiles. These birds are dotted so casually onto the canvas they hardly register as living beings—we wouldn’t wait for them to take off. Schwontkowski’s paintings dip in and out of figuration in the way life does: Sometimes we understand what’s going on around us, but most of the time everything’s a bit of a blur.

Die von Da” (Those from There) presented an outtake of the late German artist’s works across three decades. The principle behind the selection seems to have been guided by Schwontkowski’s frequent depictions of literal gaps between things and moments that often seem to prolong a state of limbo or uncertainty. Some paintings show figures gawking into the void of a broken vase or a mirror; others feature open windows and closets, or a pay phone dangling on

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