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CHILL & GRILL: Finissage Gustav Sonntag, summer celebration + Bye Bye Friedrichstraße countdown at CSR.ART | 25.06.2024

Editors’ Choice

CSR.ART in Friedrichstraße cordially invites you to CHILL & GRILL on Tuesday, 25 June 2024 from 5 pm on the occasion of the finissage of the solo exhibition RESTRISIKO by Leipzig painter Gustav Sonntag. The relaxed summer party with barbecue, cold drinks, long drinks and football watching celebrates the finale of the penultimate exhibition at CSR.ART. At the same time, it heralds the countdown to the farewell to Friedrichstrasse. The CSR.ART Contemporary Show Room’s experimental project at this location will come to an end at the end of August. The artist will be present at the finissage and will be happy to answer any questions about the stories behind the paintings in his incomparably authentic way.

Above: Gustav Sonntag, finished work is stapled to the wall without a stretcher frame, photo: Kai Späthe


The exhibition RESTRISKO by Gustav Sonntag presents a collection of haunting works that deal with themes such as obsession, addiction, violence, resignation and homelessness. Gustav Sonntag takes a close look with remarkable emotional closeness and captures the dark sides of the human condition on canvas. RESTRISIKO is organised by CSR.ART, Berlin, in collaboration with Galerie Holger John, Dresden.


Gustav Sonntag was born Felix Gustav Maximilian Steuer in Berlin in 1994 into a family of artists. He was already painting as a child, but first chose the path of music. After nine years of playing the trumpet, a friend introduced him first to graffiti and then to street art. In 2015, the artist realised that he wanted to switch to canvas, with the aim of seeing his paintings hanging in museums. He also consciously decided on his artist name “Gustav Sonntag” at this time. A friend from the club scene tells him about the daily routines of a psychiatric residential group. There was a man there who suffered from advanced dementia. This man had the task of making coffee for the group every morning. “He forgot how to make coffee every day and had to learn it again and again. But every day the man had this great feeling of bringing great joy to the others in the group and bringing the eagerly awaited coffee.” The man’s name was Mr Sonntag.

The path that Gustav Sonntag has travelled as an artist is characterised by intensive academic training and personal dedication. The choice of Leipzig as his place of training was no coincidence. Sonntag greatly appreciated the figurative painting of the Leipzig School. And when the examination board asked him: “Why do you want to go to Leipzig?” he said: “I want to learn when to paint the tones in the skin greenish and when bluish or reddish.” The answer was an understanding nod.

CSR.ART - RESTRISIKO - Gustav Sonntag - Ich kann das nicht - front
Gustav Sonntag, Ich kann das nicht (I can’t do this), 2024 (front)
Acrylic, shellac, ink on canvas
107 x 160 cm

Sonntag began his studies in 2015. Under Professor Christoph Ruckhäberle, Sonntag perfected his painting skills in his main degree programme from 2017. Ruckhäberle’s influence is groundbreaking for Sonntag’s artistic development. In intensive painting performance sessions through the dense jungle of contemporary life, Sonntag not only finds his themes, but also his technique. Ruckhäberle teaches him the speed factor against tenseness, provokes strongly, almost never praises: “Stop wanting to make art! Is painting really your path?” Sonntag works against frustration and things develop. Holger Lippmann recalls the productive dialogue between professor and student: “In February 2020, the knot seems to have burst.
”Sometimes just horizontally, not always upright. And on 2 × 3 metres, a multiple-figure scenario.” The first large picture is created. ” … That’s really good!” But after Gustav paints a picture for a very long time: “Who wants a hard-boiled egg like that?”
And then the crusher: “Why don’t you paint 15 large pictures within 2 months?”
Gustav paints 20 pictures. One week left: “… Ok, I’ll do 30.”

The “RESTRISIKO” exhibition at CSR.ART in Berlin offers a unique opportunity to experience Gustav Sonntag’s captivating artistic journey and to be moved by his haunting works. His paintings are not only aesthetic objects, but also powerful messages that inspire us to reflect on the complexity of the human condition.

CSR.ART - RESTRISIKO - Gustav Sonntag - Ich kann das nicht - back
Gustav Sonntag, Ich kann das nicht (I can’t do this), 2024 (reverse)
Acrylic, shellac, ink on canvas
107 x 160 cm

The presentation is also unusual. Sonntag’s paintings are not usually stretched on stretcher frames, they are stapled directly to the walls. This allows the viewer to lift the artwork and also take a look at the fascinating reverse side. In the studio, the artist handles the painted canvases as if they were carpets, pulling them out of storage and stacking them. If they stick to each other or wet colours rub off onto another work, he allows them to do so as part of the work’s own life.

You never know exactly where it’s going.

Gustav Sonntag

Gustav Sonntag’s works are an expression of an intensive exploration of the human abyss and a critical reflection on social conditions. Sonntag’s path as an artist has been characterised by intensive learning and experimentation.

He himself reflects on his artistic career: “You never know exactly where it will take you.” This openness to the creative process and the willingness to constantly try out new things characterise Sonntag’s way of working. Testing his view of the world anew every day, learning anew and enjoying what he has created again and again, as if it were the first time, closes the circle to Mr Sonntag, the driving force behind Gustav Sonntag’s name as an artist.

Gustav Sonntag’s works have already been shown in numerous group and solo exhibitions in Germany, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and China. Works can be found in institutions such as STEFFEN HILDEBRAND, G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig and RENALDO FABER Kunstsammlung, Leipzig.


Thursday, 25. April until Tuesday, 25. June 2024
open Tue-Sat 11 am – 7 pm

Tuesday, 25. June 2024, 5-11 pm
The artist is present.
Summer celebration with barbecue, longdrinks + watching football


Friedrichstraße 69
10117 Berlin


U2/U5: Stadtmitte

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