In his introduction to Reinhard Scheibner’s 2001 collection of drawings, Holy Shit, Klaus Theuerkauf writes ‘For more than twenty years, Berlin has been trying to ignore Reinhard Scheibner, yet in our country we are hardly overprovided with good painters. We are satisfied mostly with arrogant pseudo-intellectuals, clean as toilets. Since the elimination of Jewish intelligence, German art dealers and curators have become little more than pawns in the service of a rapacious art market. They have extreme difficulty with artists who dare to cross the border into caricature and satire, yet without humour there would be neither Plautus, nor Rabelais, nor Jarry, nor Rops, nor Ensor, nor Grosz, nor Crumb.’
Berlin-based Scheibner is a talented, prolific artist who is not afraid to draw his – and our – deepest erotic fantasies and worst excremental nightmares. He grew up in Bamberg in central Germany, and from 1974 to 1980 studied at the Hochschule of the Arts (University of the Arts) in Berlin. In the late 1970s and early 80s he mainly painted large-format paintings in the loose manner typical of that era, then in the 90s started drawing and painting his trademark images of the weirdness of human interaction.
Scheibner is fascinated by the raw underbelly of polite society – the unspeakable, the unimaginable, the nightmarish. He explores the depths of humanity to its taboo and darkly comic extremes. His perpetrators include doctors, police, sadistic criminals, punks, skinheads, shitting dogs. It would be too easy to be overwhelmed and disgusted by Scheibner’s detailed drawings, and not recognise their social satire, their cultural commentary, and their black humour. If the imagery is disturbing, it is because the darker aspects of sexual fantasy, power play, fetish and control are by their nature disturbing. As Scheibner explains, ‘Sexual fantasies aren’t always nice, they can harass and torment you.’ As A.N. Wilson concludes in the 2013 interview for which the link is below, ‘Scheibner gives us an insight into his own delectable fantasies and observations, showing us a refreshing perspective that can fill ones head with titillating wonder as well as soul-crushing despair.’
Despite the cultural preference for relatively ‘safe’ art, Scheibner has regularly exhibited his work in Berlin, Paris, and further afield. He has also been fortunate to make the acquaintance of Marseille-based gallery owner and publisher Pakito Bolino, who in 2001 published Scheibner’s first printed collection of images, Holy Shit, under the imprint Le Dernier Cri. Two further books of his work, Horny (2012) and True Devotion (2015) have appeared since.
More works by Reinhard Scheibner can be found on his website here.
There is a fascinating 2010 interview with Scheibner, titled ‘In a Magic Machine with Reinhard Scheibner’, which you can find here, and another from 2013 by The Moot Art Gallery, entitled ‘The Enchanted Garden’, which is here.