‘Fuerst’s hyper-real paintings are so uncannily life-like they will make you swear to God they just winked at you. Celebrating the unusual and bombastic, Fuerst’s paintings have a touch of fashion photographer Tim Walker’s fantastical choice of props about them. Mix in some Harajuku-level facial expressions and cuteness and you’ve got yourself a hallway knock-out. A graduate of the Academy in Florence and the London Atelier of Representational Art, Fuerst’s classical methods of painting jar pleasingly with her contemporary subjects. Fuerst’s painstaking works are becoming increasingly prominent in certain art collections – and the price reflects her stature as the real deal.’ – GQ Magazine
This is the world of SJ Fuerst: a world where mass-produced becomes beautiful, artificial becomes natural, toys become symbols and women – above all – are in control.
SJ Fuerst lives and works in Gozo, combining her contemporary and classical art training to create these magical, paradoxical worlds: hyper-real from a distance but soft and delicate up close. She studied in New York, Florence and London and has now chosen the Gozitan light and island peace as a base from where to work and create these magically real paintings.
Fuerst builds these worlds – sometimes taking a few years to do so – by assembling inflatable animals, coloured backdrops, costumes and models to create a self-sufficient universe. The world is built around the female figure – she is queen of her kingdom: the inflatables, the costumes and the props all exist within her orbit.
And what seems on the surface to be a decorative or fanciful image, on closer inspection proves to contain many contradictions.
Words by Margerita Pule extracted from an interview published in Artpaper #6 2019.