Born in 1982 in Augsburg (Germany), Philipp Fürhofer’s multidisciplinary artistic practice combines paintings, sculptures, installations and set designs. His works are created with a singular language that combines modern materials, mixed with traditional and historical elements from operas, charged with associations that places the influence and heritage of 19th century German and Nordic Romantic painters in a contemporary context.
After graduating from the School of Fine Arts at the University of Berlin, he spent months in hospital with heart problems. By looking at his chest X-rays and their transparency, he started to create acrylic glass boxes filled with structured objects and ready-made detritus exploring them to give new forms and reality. Juxtaposing the different layers of the works with spy mirror foil, he often uses incandescent light bulbs, LED tubes that switch on and off to reveal different visions, the painting on the transparent surface transforms his mysterious and oneiric worlds into infinite motifs, from torsos to landscapes or from rib cages to forests, making nature and humans co-exist. In the May 2018 issue of Art Forum, Jurrian Benschop wrote that: »Fürhofer’s boxes are triumphs of illusionism, of ingenuous visual staging. His assemblages allow him to combine various textures and to relate these spatially—in this he has surely been informed by his work as a set designer for the opera.«
Since 2008, he continuously works as stage and costume designer for operas. He created set designs among others for Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame for the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam; Der fliegende Holländer at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, directed by Kasper Holten In 2013 he worked on Les Vèpres Siciliennes presented at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London and the Royal Opera in Copenhagen, which was awarded by the Society of London Theatre the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for best opera production, directed by Stefan Herheim. He currently works on the 2018 edition of Glyndebourne Festival’s (UK) presentation of Pelléas et Mélisande.
Fürhofer’s works have been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries around the world, most recently in 2017–2018 with a major installation in the rotunda of the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt – (Dis)connect – in which he transformed the circular building into an illusionary space to play with the visitors perception and their notion of reality. His work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in Paris, Milan, Sydney, Hong Kong, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and Berlin. In 2018, Munich’s Kunsthalle invited him to create, based on his work, the concept and the scenography for the exhibition Du bist Faust that showcased more than one hundred artworks inspired by Goethe’s famous drama.
He lives and works in Berlin, Germany.