The World of Limbo

The bright colours and surrealist tendencies of Ryan Mosley’s paintings greatly contrast the cool, white-washed gallery space at the EIGEN + ART Lab in the Former Jewish Girl’s School. Creating another world somewhere between heaven and somewhere between hell, these warm art works take me far away from Berlin to a world where swirls become eyes and skulls have beards!

Is it a bird, is it a plane? Superman?

The first works you are confronted with are a set of portraits which I feel capture Mosley’s style quite well. Its hard to tell what exactly you are looking at, the subject could in fact be many things. At first it looks like the behind view of an Asian lady in a kimono. But wait. Is that a green nose attached to a disgruntled face coming out of her hair? Is it even hair?

ryan mosley, berlin, art, painting, exhibition, xanadu to zanzibar, eigen and art lab
“Xanadu to Zanzibar”, Ryan Mosley. Courtesy Alison Jacques Gallery und Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin


The longer I looked at the works the more I got out of them and there was always something new to see. Whereas I would normally say the closer you are to a piece the better, It was by standing back and getting a different perspective that I could appreciate works my favourite piece “Quantum Mass”. This piece seemed to be many smaller paintings in one. Up close I appreciated the differing sections but as I stepped further away it came to my attention that they were all either climbing though, next to or part of a huge and colourful skull!

Dia de los Muertos

The skull was made of different colours, swirls and objects. Also present in the piece were other skulls and skeletons. These images of death were also common throughout other pieces and took on quite a comic feel. In this piece they seemed to be playing on the skull, using it as a climbing frame. I was reminded of the Day of the Dead and the death rituals so often associated with Mexican and other Hispanic cultures which are very accepting of death. The paintings seemed somewhat ritualistic and understanding of death and whilst they seemed somewhat traditional they also felt very modern.

Beautiful nightmare

Limbo is that place between heaven and hell, supposedly awful and nightmarish. Floating heads, bodies without heads and body parts without body should be nightmarish and all swirl together in a rush of colour and malformation that hints at a dream. However, the crazy colourful world of limbo looks fun to me and the colours take away the scary. Even the wibbly, wobby flat man isn’t as nightmarish as some aspects of reality! He does look nightmarishly hungry though. I’d suggest he should pop round the corner to Saladette&Freunde for some good food!

  • EIGEN + ART Lab “Reversed Limbo” Ryan Mosley, March 29th – May 19th 2012, Tue – Sat: 11am – 6pm