Heiko Pippig
Born 1951 in Mosbach / Germany
1971-1972 philosophy and graphic design at the University of Mannheim
1973-1978 art student at the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe
1979-1982 art student in the class of Prof. Markus Lüpertz
1982-1988 freelance artist: solo and group exhibitions

Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig, class of Prof. Bernhard Heisig

since 1989 lives and works in Southern Germany

His works are represented in numerous public and private collections, such as:

Sammlung Dr. Ralf Baumann, Birnau

Westdeutsche Sammlung Bodan

Museum Würth, Künzelsau

Sammlung Otto Geisel, Bad Mergentheim

Sammlung Volkhardt, Bayerischer Hof


Heiko Pippig is obsessed by the human figure. This is an artist's obsession. "This subject will haunt me forever", he confesses and to underline this artistic credo, he quotes Jean Genet who describes a portrait where Jean Genet posed for the sculpture Alberto Giacometti. has never cast a contemptuous look on a human being or an object. Everything appears to him in its precious solitude." Even as a youth, figures haunted Heiko Pippig: fragile, yet menacing silhouettes that he banishes to canvas: pale torsos, snakelike, tortured bodies. “I had to free myself of these images, so I went to university to study advertising art and philosophy”. Not for a long time. Finally, Heiko Pippig realized that in order to get rid of his obsessions, he had to confront them. So he followed his inner calling and began studying art at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe. There he acquired a solid technical training and met the most precious gift a budding artist can have: critical opposition. Markus Lüpertz, the world renowned painter, motivated his scholars in his master class with intelligent criticism and helped them find their own artistic position. This is a hard, but rewarding way of learning. And the professor, Markus Lüpertz, is the first to praise his scholar for being consequent and passionate, when he saw his solo exhibitions in Schloss Halberg near Saarbrücken. After leaving the academy in 1982, Heiko Pippig was asked to exhibit in the academy, a very rare honour. He started a very promising career with many exhibitions in galleries and public buildings and also began winning his first prizes, but then suddenly stopped short. He decided that something was still missing and went back to university. He chose an extremely prestigious university, the Academy of Visual Arts (Hochschule für Graphik und Buchkunst) in Leipzig (the former German Democratic Republic), the epicentre of political and artistic changes: to become famous under the names "die Wende" and the "New Leipzig School". Heiko Pippig arrived in Leipzig in 1988. He witnessed the collapse and fall of socialism that ended with the fall of the "Berlin Wall" and saw the dawn of a new political era. Under Prof. Bernhard Heisig, the doyen of East German painting, he found what he had always sought, but could not find in the superficial and narcissistic art scene: art involves mankind. If the artist wants to be convincing, he must not only be emotionally involved, but also a detached observer.

There is no better way than to depict mankind and speak emotionally to the viewer about the interaction between the individual and society. The human figure theme is in the air: at the same time in Berlin (the former and soon to be new capital of Germany) many young artists discovered the human figure. In fact, it was a rediscovery of an old, very old motive. These young artists were not afraid of boring academia: they painted with verve and used strong strokes of their brushes to express the new feeling of individualism and freedom.

Art critics label their art "Wild Berliners" and "Neo-Expressionism". The term "Neo-expressionism" also aptly describes Pippig's style. Pippig belongs to a long tradition of German artists: from Lovis Corinth to the "Brücke" artists (i.e. E.L. Kirchner, K. Schmidt- Rottluff) with their urban scenes and figures to the post-war art of "wild paintings" by Jörg Immendorff, Georg Baselitz or Salomé. Characteristic for these artists are the impulsive, almost eruptive bold strokes, strong and contrasting colours, an impressive simplification of the outlines of their figures, to express their subjective impressions and feelings. Their paintings do not show reality, but an inner vision of their reality, an inner essence of themselves. Pippig chooses his models carefully, studying them for a long time before deciding to paint them. He observes patiently, imbuing himself with their personality before beginning to paint. The outward appearance is not his real goal – he wants a portrait of the model's character. He believes with Oscar Wilde: "The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible". If you want to discover the heart, you have to begin with the surface. Pippig refuses outside proposals. Long-term friendships mean more to him, among them are actors, famous persons or politicians. Sometimes he cannot resist the inspiration of special surroundings: At the request of Otto Geisel, hotelier, leading gastronome and patron of the arts, he decorated the rooms of a 19th century luxury hotel in a southern German health resort.

What is the goal of this artist? Heiko Pippig answers: "I was struck by a mini-dialogue in a novel by A. S. Byatt. She reflects on her characters, how difficult it is perceive them. 'What do you see? - All you can see are imperfections and reflections.' I like the sad melancholy of those lines, knowing that the complexities of each character, the objective exterior and the subjective vision of the observer are inextricably intertwined. This inadequacy of art, of literature or any attempt to understand man is also beauty, because it creates a new image, a new reality. The artist creates a sort of doppelgänger out of canvas and paint – with a character and reality of its own. To be confronted with one's own otherness: that is the frightening beauty and incomparable creativity of art.


  • Andreas Franzke (Hrg.): Heiko Pippig: Malerei, Grafik ; Ausstellung im Lichthof d. Staatl. Akad. d. Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe, vom 15. November - 9. Dezember 1983, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe: Vereinigung d. Freunde d. Kunstakad. Karlsruhe, 1983

  • Karin Hochapfel, Jørn Kausch, Jeanette Oellers, Heiko Pippig, Ausstellungskatalog der Gesellschaft der Freunde Junger Kunst Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden 1986  

  • Walter Jung und Heiko Pippig
    Ausstellung der Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg Stuttgart, 1985

  • Heiko Pippig - Malerei: Kunstverein Neckar-Odenwald, Ausstellungskatalog 1986   

  • Heiko Pippig: Königsbilder, Fabelwesen und Mythen, München 1997

  • Heiko Pippig: Das klassische Ideal in der modernen Malerei. Heiko Pippig und die Antike, München 2012

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