Chris Succo

Painterly histories honoured, then blurred, in explorations of material and composition.

Chris Succo sat on a chair with one leg crossed over the other in his studio
storage unit on wheels in artist's studio with two large canvases behind and paint splashes on the floor
Chris Succo signing artworks that rest on a large table surface in his studio
4 images

Chris Succo was born in 1979 and lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany.

At Auction

His original painting Everything In Its Right Place (2014) was purchased for $65,935 USD at Phillips London in 2015.

Accolades

Succo has received numerous fellowships including the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Fellowship, Berlin in 2010; the Carte Blanche Fellowship, Liechtenstein in 2010 and the DHCS Fellowship, Düsseldorf in 2009.

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Practice overview

At heart, Chris Succo is driven by material experimentation. As he puts it: “It's rather how to paint than what to paint.” Shifting between a multitude of styles, he creates predominantly abstract compositions which incorporate collage, screenprint and photography, and are rendered using a wealth of materials including spray paint, oil, lacquer, fabric, cardboard and aluminium. The artist’s calligraphy-esque handwriting is a trademark motif, and in the studio he creates storylines between the canvases as if they are pages of a book. Influences include poetry, mythology and Holy Books from multiple religions, as well as art historical influences from Abstract Expressionism and Post-minimalism, and conceptual painters like Christopher Wool. However, chief among Succo’s inspirations is the experience of life itself.

Memory is key to Succo’s practice. An essential part of his process is that he draws and takes photographs all the time. The artist explains that he is motivated to do so because he has a personal fear of forgetting things. This sentiment is palpable in works like At the Drawing Room (2016) and Jungle Smoke Lounge (2017) which move away from pure abstraction to depict hazy memories that include interiors and figures obscured by circular scribbles. Testing and refining the quality of line as he draws almost automatically, Succo documents fleeting moments in order not to forget.

"You have to forget everything. The thought of being successful does not exist in the studio."Chris Succo