Thomas Huber studied at the Basel Kunstgewerbeschule, the Royal College of Art in London and the Düsseldorf Staatliche Kunstakademie He now lives and works in Germany, having moved from near Düsseldorf to Berlin in 2008. Towards the end of his studies he painted a trilogy that can be read as programmatic of the oeuvre to come: Rede über die Sintflut (Talk on the Great Flood) (1982, Gabriele Henkel collection), Rede zur Schöpfung (Talk on Creation) (1982, Gabriele Henkel collection), and Rede in der Schule (Talk in the School) (1983, Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum). All three paintings contain Huber’s key motif of a painting within a painting as a way of coming into contact with both the real and imaginary worlds and foregrounding the gateway between the two.
Studio II was the first of Huber’s works to be acquired by the museum, followed by a series of watercolours and drawings that explore in detail the themes he handles both in the planning stages and while working on the canvas itself. Studio II is part of the ‘banks’ series in which Huber draws a parallel between the process of converting and growing ideas, values and energies, and the work of bankers. The title refers to Huber’s view of banks as a metaphor for a place of creation and alchemy, where gold turns into beauty and animal tallow turns into soap bubbles. As Huber wrote in a 1992 text entitled The Bank. Representing Value: ‘Are we not strangely similar, us artists and bankers? Changers, multipliers of money, manufacturers of gold, shimmering speculators in appearances. Charlatans? Charmers promising miraculous increase? We both paint pictures of a happier time.’
Thomas Huber. Der Duft des Geldes, exh. cat. Utrecht, Centraal Museum Utrecht, Hanover, Kestner-Gesellschaft Hannover, Zürich, Kunsthaus Zürich, Darmstadt, Verlag Jürgen Häusser, 1992.
Beat Wismer (ed.), Thomas Huber. Das Kabinett der Bilder, exh. cat. Aarau, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Krefeld, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Baden, Aarau, Lars Müller, Aargauer Kunsthaus, 2004.
Thomas Huber, ‘La banque. Une représentation de la valeur,’ in Thomas Huber. Mesdames et Messieurs. Conférences 1982-2010, Geneva, Mamco, 2012: 159-170. Quoted from Thomas Huber, Die Bank – Eine Wertvorstellung. Schriftliche Niederlegung einer Reder zur ästhetischen Ökonomie, Bonn, Galerie Philomene Magers, Darmstadt, Verlag Jürgen Häusser, 1992.