Artist Spotlight: David Elias Schilling

David is back! He is a Vienna-based artist, born in Leipzig and has spent his founding years here. Now he is at PILOTENKUECHE, rediscovering and appreciating his home city with a fresh pair of eyes. After 12 years in Vienna, he is observing the changes that Leipzig has undergone. But he has also changed. He is able to use his accumulated knowledge to discover new facets of his childhood Leipzig. The adult David is finding this new perspective on the past a very interesting experience.

His Leipziger roots manifest throughout David’s work. Knowing his family history and that of the city, we can understand David’s art on a more personal level. He grew up near the coal mines and his grandfather was employed within the industry. David childhood was informed by stories of the coal quarries and exposure to the landscape on a daily basis. He praises the aesthetic power of quarries. “It is like a hurricane” he says, describing the visual impact of the “moonlike landscape”.

David is a painter, who has also received professional training in photography. Thus, occasionally he utilises both disciplines in his practice. He found that photography alone was too clean as a medium and limiting in certain ways, whereas in painting David was able to integrate the momentum, the energy and the movement that is present throughout the creation. He also mentions that the lines and shapes on the paper trace artists’ morphology, adding an additional quality. Therefore, David uses large formats as they give more space for physical freedom and an opportunity to interact with the piece in a bodily manner.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Although his approach to painting is very expressive, David is very attentive to the detail and thoughtful about the materials he chooses. The choice of medium is tightly knitted to his birthplace and early exposures. David’s paintings have a very graphic aesthetic to them, he’s work channels the métier of contemporary drawing. He paints almost exclusively on paper using charcoal, ink and graphite, producing high contrast images.
He prefers to work on paper as it is less eternal than canvas, outlining the value of the present moment. The use of charcoal is self-explanatory, but is not by accident why he uses solely a specific brand of ink. David says to have a nostalgic connection with the ink from Rohrer & Klingner (a company established in Leipzig in.1907). This ink was the top choice in schools, used by children to learn writing.

He is also a gardener. His love for botany was ignited when he was assigned a tiny corner in the family garden. His corner plot grew bigger and bigger with each passing year. Now he can proudly speak about his collection of flowers, particularly his wild roses. As a gardener David is enchanted by the change of season, especially the springtime when nature comes back to life out of nothing. He is equally fascinated by the seeds and their ability to stay dormant for decades, just to be awakened by the right circumstances. Currently, whilst back in Leipzig, David is researching plants that are reappearing in Leipzig’s old quarries.
Within his art practice he integrates motifs of flowers, plays with their symbolism and creates harmonious Ikebanas. He is intrigued by Japanese zen gardens as well as tea rituals and Japanese ink painting.

David is a curious person and a multifaceted artist. David adores opera, he will be the one who is humming or whistling a fragment from a classical piece. Currently he is smitten by Shostakovich 11th symphony, but obviously being born in Leipzig he had the love for Bach placed in his cradle. David is interested in Bach’s’ approach to composing, his use of mathematical principles, Fibonacci sequence as well as numerology. David tries to apply these techniques himself, he studies principles of harmony, but is mesmerised by contrasts.
He is attracted by Vanitas and recognises both the beautiful and the ugly, We need both. David says: ”It is life, there is dirt and it is beautiful!”.

David manages to interweave various disciplines, techniques, personal history and symbols in a surprisingly harmonic and balanced way, creating art pieces that complement each other and form a complete oneness. Though one doesn’t have to recognize the information embedded to appreciate aesthetics of his work.

images supplied by artist

See his work at the following shows:

Reset unsettling flesh layers / vernissage / PK at AHS

Friday, 15. November 2019
19:00 bis 22:00

Sat 16 / Sun 17
Thur 21 / Fri 22 / Sat 23
14:00 bis 18:00

Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, Kleinzschocher, 04229 Leipzig, Deutschland

Overwhelmed incorporeal happiness / vernissage / PK RD41

Saturday, 14. December 2019
19:00 – 22:00

PILOTENKEUCHE, Franz-Flemming-Straße 9, 04179 Leipzig

Press while here at Pilotenkueche:


Beyond ‘Hypezig’: Connecting international artists in eastern Germany
by Benedict Tetzlaff-Deas