Sunset, 030 (2019), an oil painting made by Anne Imhof, represents a sunset that the artist turns for 90° of the classic landscape representation: the new verticality abstracts the subject and obliges the observer moves the head in order to recognize it. The monochromatic tones that tend to red, old pink, black and other shades of warm tones, give to the image a very gloomy, almost apocalyptic aura: suggesting more an atomic explosion than a sunset, Imhof already brings the reading of the work towards a melancholy and devastating interpretation.
The large canvas, three meters high by almost two meters wide, represents a sunset, but escaping stereotyped details through an artifice, and through this, generates a different type of reaction in the viewer, which from contemplation fascinated leaves room for feelings of discomfort and threat that a natural phenomenon can arouse.

The distortion of the representation of everyday life, a common characteristic and consistently pursued by the artist, takes place not only through the tones of the colors used but also for the modeling of the shapes: black clouds take on the shapes of almost human figures, new monsters that inhabit these lands desolate, now left without any sign of vegetation.
Sunset is no longer one of the many sunsets that we can see by scrolling on our Instagram page, it does not suggest well-being and serenity, but on the contrary, by emphasizing the shapes of the clouds and the brightness of the celestial body, it represents its most destructive aspect. In front of the painting it seems to be in front of a vision of the future with apocalyptic outlines, the world will collapse on itself and every natural and vital element will no longer exist, leaving only confused and threatening shadows in its place.

Playing on the border between desire and domination, Imhof destroys the collective imagination by favoring an image perhaps closer to the tragic reality of our present: the climate crisis but also the identity crisis seem to coagulate in these lines and colors. We raise our heads and go back to seeing the sunset vertically and we reassure ourselves not to recognize it, hoping that it is just an impossible image of a dystopian future. But maybe Sunset, 030 is closer to us than we realize.


Anne Imhof
Sunset, 030, 2019
Oil on canvas, tape, 336×184 cm
Image courtesy of Galerie Buchholz