Jakob Roepke

b . Germany. Lives and works in Berlin.


  • When looking at Jakob Roepkes abstract relief’s I can let my eyes wander here and there over the coherent geometric shapes, exploring paths up and down, something that could be a geological structure, meandering through something that could be a hilly landscape, overlapping rooftops or some sort of crystalized physignomy. Apart from all these random associations I am still not confined by any narrowing attributions but can still just appreciate these wall objects like an intricate image. Curiously the artist, in his creative process, is confining himself by using only a limited set of shapes, mainly triangles and squares, thus creating a great variation of shapes and shades. The shades of grey display a two-dimensional, mosaic-like image, which is produced via a three-dimensional construction. Depending on the angle and the intensity of light, the picture is changing, a bright lit shape can turn into dark grey when placed in the shadow by a changing illumination.
    Merle Eisenberg, 2018
  • Jakob Roepke began working on a series of miniature plates in 1996 and has since created over 1400 separate pieces. While each small painting is an individual work, they build up networks of reoccurring motives, situations and themes. 
In each picture Roepke continually reinvents scenes for his tiny protagonists, the figures of which are drawn from 19th century Jiu Jitsu and 1970s yoga handbooks. Isolated in seemingly lonely domestic spaces, he throws them into ever changing and unexpected situations as if each work were a piece of iconographic research. The quotidian is turned on its head as the figures ward off monstrous animals, wild geometric figures and strange alien forms. Drawing upon art history, popular culture and the surrealist tradition, each piece is left open to a wealth of contextual interpretations.
Following the surrealist tradition of Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico his tiny collages seem to reference the uncertainty and adversity of 21th century life; yet while the scenes hover between hopelessness and destruction, Roepke’s central figures always seem on the verge of tipping the fight in their favour.



  • Education
  • 1981 - 1988 University for Arts and Design - Offenbach - DE
  • 1986 - 1987 Dept. of Painting & Dept. of Sculpture - Edinburgh College of Art - Edinburgh - UK
  • Exhibitions
  • 2017 50 Contemporary Artists by Enter Art Foundation - Multipolster - Berlin - DE

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