Jonathan Meese

Selected works


Born in 1970 in Tokyo, Jonathan Meese is a German artist who lives in Berlin. He has developed an uncategorizable body of work, lying somewhere between expressionism and actionism, combining painting, sculpture, installations and performance. His personal mythology is a blend of historical, legendary and science fiction references, evoking figures as varied as Fantômas, Maldoror and Stalin, all of whom represent different facets of the artist’s identity. His work espouses the ‘dictatorship of art’.

Lolita (R)evolution (Rufschädigendst) – Ihr Alle seid die Lolita Eurer Selbst! – Theatre play

World-class visual artist Jonathan Meese will present a play in collaboration with the Theater Dortmund, Germany. On the basis of  the controversial and world-famous novel “Lolita” by the Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, the « evolutionary » piece which he will direct, do the set and costume design will premiere on 15 February 2020.


February 15, March 21, April 3, April 25, May 16, 2020


Die Irrfahrten des Jonathan Meese – solo show

In the Greek saga, the hero Odysseus survives dangerous adventures on his odyssey and completes mysterious tasks – returning home at the end perhaps as a different person. Like a contemporary Odysseus, in this exhibition, the artist Jonathan Meese (born 1970 in Tokyo and based in Berlin) sets off on an imaginary journey, making various stops along the way. In drawings, pictures and sculptures from over 20 years of artistic production, encounters with the most diverse, ambivalent protagonists and situations take place, which the artist approaches in his archaic role as symbolic redeemer and liberator. Visitors to the exhibition get to accompany the plucky, provocative artist on his voyage, but where will it end?

PINAKOTHEK DER MODERNE, MUNCHEN, GERMANY From 15/11/2018 to 03/03/2019


Ticket to the moon – Group show

The show is dedicated to artistic comments on the moon landing and to the moon as a symbol of human dreams, desires, and speculation. Featured in it are works from the time when the race to the moon started in the 1950s, direct reactions to the moon landing after 1969, and also very recent positions of younger artists. 

KUNSTHALLE KREMS, KREMS, GERMANYFrom 14/07/2019 to 03/11/2019


Dr. ZUHAUSE: K.U.N.S.T (Erzliebe) “Mother” – “Father” – Solo shows

Jonathan Meese carries out in the city of Lübeck , under the title Dr. Zuhause: K.U.N.S.T (Erzliebe), the largest exhibition project of his career presenting a solo exhibition in each of the city’s art institutions, including an extensive retrospective of his work at the Kunsthalle St. Annen. A massive invasion of the city by art.




DR.ZUHAUSSE : K.U.N.S.T (Erzliebe) – Group show

Jonathan Meese carries out in the city of Lübeck , under the title Dr. Zuhause: K.U.N.S.T (Erzliebe), the largest exhibition project of his career presenting a solo exhibition in each of the city’s art institutions, including an extensive retrospective of his work at the Kunsthalle St. Annen. A massive invasion of the city by art.



« The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely » – group show

« The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely » will bring together 73 international artists in Oostende chosen by curators Jan Fabre and Joanna De Vos and will present 52 new creations of young and experienced artists.
The exhibition discusses the artist’s quest and the duality of the creation, based on isolation and engagement.
Artists from different generations and different paths were invited to question the link between « Le radeau de la méduse » (1818) of Théodore Géricault and Jan Fabre’s work « Le Radeau est (pas) solitaire (1986) ».

The curators have the intention to stimulate the city in order to make it (re)discovered. Besides the well-known museum, they looked for more unsual places like the Peperbusse restaurant, le 
Palais de Justice, the Eurpacentrum building, the stables of the Wellington track race or the crypts of the Sint-Jozef church.

« The Raft. Art is (not) Lonely » will be an artistic journey disseminated in 22 places of the « City by the sea » .

OSTENDE, BELGIUMFrom 21/10/17 to 15/04/18


The Men Who Fell From Earth – group show

Three international heavyweights in contemporary painting will join forces when Danish Tal R and his two German colleagues and friends, Jonathan Meese and Daniel Richter, hold a joint exhibition at Holstebro Kunstmuseum, under the title ‘The Men Who Fell from Earth’.

In recent decades, with an almost unrestrained energy, these three artists have made a name for themselves as significant innovators of the painting tradition. Their inspiration is often drawn from the borderline of what is generally acceptable, and the result is fabulous imagery that demonstrates great colouristic and expressive strength. Although there is sometimes a lot of humour present, the subjects addressed by Jonathan Meese, Daniel Richter and Tal R are both serious and urgent.

Photo © Hanna Putz

HOLSTEBRO KUNSTMUSEUM, DenmarkFrom 16/09/2017 to 7/01/2018


The Artist/Knight(Group show)

Knights appeal to everyone’s imagination. What does this iconic symbol stand for? Do the knightly codes and values still have meaning today? Curator Joanna De Vos investigated and now creates in Gaasbeek Castle an international group exhibition of modern artistry as a ‘legacy’ of knightly ideals. 

With works by Marina Abramović, Uldus Bakhtiozina, Horia Damian, Robert Devriendt, Davide Dormino, Jan Fabre, Laurent Grasso, Phil Griffin, Oda Jaune, Kubra Khademi, Meiro Koizumi, Pere Llobera, Barbara Kruger, Kris Martin, Jonathan Meese, Fabien Mérelle, Benjamin Moravec, Eleni Mylonas, Luigi Ontani, Antonis Pittas, Quiet Ensemble, Gabriel Roca, Rob Scholte, Adeela Suleman, Hannelore Van Dijck, Hans Van Houwelingen, Marko Velk, Antonello Viola, voorforvaast fanclub and Andy Wauman

GAASBEEK CASTLEFrom 7/11/17 to 11/5/17 


Parsifal’s Traum: Chefsache »K.U.N.S.T.« – solo showIn cooperation with Wiener Festwochen 

»MONDPARSIFAL ALPHA 1-8 (ERZMUTTERZ DER ABWEHRZ)« is the title that Jonathan Meese gave to his outer-space production of an opera by Bernhard Lang, which will premiere at the 2017 Wiener Festwochen festival. As the title suggests, this is a reinterpretation of the subject matter of Richard Wagner’s last opera »Parsifal« (1882).

In the Picture Gallery, he now lands a new group of works, flying in like a spaceship. Four places south of the Alps that were home to schools of painters become associative theatrical venues, in which Meese, like in »MONDPARSIFAL,« explores the significance of art for the future, interrogating the Old Masters. At the same time, he responds to them with his own pictures and a Janusface, »CHEF DER KUNST« (the boss of art).




Dr. Merlin de Large (Marquis Zed de Baby-Excalibur) – solo show

From February 15 to April 30, 2017, the Carré Sainte-Anne in Montpellier presents “Dr. Merlin de Large, Marquis Zed de Baby-excalibur”, an exhibition by the Berlin artist Jonathan Meese.

Blending references to history, legends and science fiction, for the last fifteen years, Jonathan Meese has been juxtaposing different personalities from various modes of expression such as film, opera, video or live performances. The expressionist forms and colours of his paintings are characterised by bold brush strokes and spontaneous scripts on a black background, completed with objects that are glued on. The artist develops his installations out of various items that he has collected.

The exhibition refers to the mythical legends of Arthur, as well as to the works of Stanley Kubrik, John Boorman and the Marquis de Sade. It consists of a series of paintings on canvas and ephemeral works created directly on the mouldings of the former church.




Between Two Horizons. German and French avant-gardes from the Saarlandmuseum – group show

The work «Love like Blood (dein Junker Meese “Babyface”) » by Jonathan Meese can be seen in this exhibition offering a dialogue between the German and the French art scene since impressionism. Pictures by Auguste Renoir stand alongside Max Libermann’s, the “fauve” André Derain faces flamboyant paintings by the expressionists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and works by Aurélie Nemours and Hans Hartung complete the presentation of a common history and present. The masterpieces from both sides of the Rhine testify of mutual influences and the fascination as well as the research and questionning the other.  


CENTRE POMPIDOU-METZ, METZ, FRANCE From 06/29/2016 to 01/16/2017


Art Basel Talks Programm’s Salon Series

Discussion | 100 Years Dada

Jonathan Meese, in conversation with Adrian Notz, Director, Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich.

Auditorium, Hall 1 (Hall of the Unlimited sector), Messeplatz, 4005 Basel. Free entrance.



Performance and collective show, Artists and Prophets

On the occasion of the opening of ‘Artists and Prophets/Schiele, Hundertwasser, Kupka, Beuys and Others’, German artist Jonathan Meese proposes a unique performance and installation at the National Gallery in Prague, on July 21 2015 at 8 pm.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY, PRAGUE From 07/21/2015 to 10/18/2015  


Le Mur – Works from the Antoine de Galbert Collection(Group Show)

From June 14th to September 21st 2014

À l’occasion de son 10e anniversaire, la maison rouge présente du 14 juin au 21 septembre 2014,
Le mur – oeuvres de la collection Antoine de Galbert, onzième volet de la série d’expositions consacrées aux collections privées.

Après dix expositions proposant des univers de collectionneurs variés, cette date anniversaire est l’occasion de montrer enfin largement la collection du fondateur et président de la maison rouge, Antoine de Galbert, une part d’intimité qui lui est chère et qu’il n’a jusqu’à présent que peu dévoilée. Mais à l’inverse des précédents projets autour de collections particulières, réalisés avec des commissaires qui ont fait des choix représentatifs dans de larges corpus d’œuvres, l’accrochage imaginé par Antoine de Galbert comporte cette fois-ci une spécificité remarquable :

« L’idée de cette exposition est née de l’observation quotidienne de ma bibliothèque, où le classement alphabétique des monographies crée d’invraisemblables voisinages. Jean Dubuffet cohabite avec Marcel Duchamp sur le même rayonnage. Cette “arche de Noé” me donne la sensation que tous les artistes naviguent sur le même fleuve pour les mêmes raisons, comme le remarque Christian Boltanski : « Que ce soit Aloïse, moi ou un artiste du 16e siècle, ce sont les mêmes questions qui sont posées : la mort, la recherche de la beauté, la nature, le sexe… Les sujets en art sont très limités. Seuls les mots et les vocabulaires diffèrent (…)». La bibliothèque est tout à la fois archive de la collection, souvenirs visuels d’un long voyage et musée imaginaire du collectionneur. […] Délaissant l’idée déjà explorée par certains commissaires d’expositions, d’un accrochage par ordre alphabétique, j’ai choisi de présenter l’essentiel des œuvres de ma collection, s’accrochant au mur, à l’aide d’un logiciel renseigné seulement par leurs formats (encadrées) et leurs numéros d’inventaires. (…)

image : © Marc Domage




From November 16th 2013 to March 09th 2014

The exhibition in the MdM Mönchsberg aims to provide, for the first time, a survey of the most extensive complex of his œuvre: painting. This was not Meese’s first medium, but came second to drawing, long before he turned to installation and the stage. His first oil paintings date from 1993/4 – the period immediately preceding his academic training. After an interval of several years, during which he devoted himself exclusively to performance and installation, he returned to painting with increased attention. From then on, he transferred his fundamental idea of the stage as a counter-world, and the element of staging, on to large-scale historical paintings. The expressive power of the original, unmistakable painterly language he developed over twenty years has attained a unique status in the contemporary art world.(…)

Museum der Moderne, Salzburg


International Sculpture Route Amsterdam(Group show)

From Saturday 25 May 2013 to Sunday 22 September 2013

For the previous edition of ArtZuid in 2011, we combined non-western and western artists and, in the introduction to the catalogue, we considered the historical aspects of such a juxtaposition, known as World Art. We pointed out that in this discussion of western and non-western art, existing relationships were being changed. This is part of the intercultural debate in a global world which, since the 1960s, as a result of mass communications, is becoming a global village. In addition, large-scale migration of workers since the 1960s has created a society in western cities described as multi-cultural. Politically, this coincided with decolonisation. The old ethnology also changed and with it the view of non-western art. Alongside the traditional ‘primitive’ art, attention gradually turned to contemporary artists from non-western countries. Exhibitions such as Magiciens de la Terre in the Centre Pompidou in Paris set a standard. But this was very quickly followed by accusations of aesthetic prejudice against organisers who were thought to regard non-western art as an exotic phenomenon. The mouthpiece for that criticism, Okwui Enwezor, put forward his case in Documenta in Kassel. He limited his selection to artists who worked with socio-political themes. In the catalogue we formulated some objections raised by his approach and which led to an artistic interpretation in which didactic moralism and a politically-correct message set the tone. (…)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Médée (Scénographie de Jonathan Meese)

From Friday 12th to Tuesday 23th octobre 2012.

Jonathan Meese signe la scénographie de la création de l’opéra Médée au Théâtre des Champs-Elysées

En 2007, une partie du public parisien le découvrait par sa réalisation de la scénographie et des costumes de l’adaptation des Maîtres chanteurs de Wagner, mis en scène par Frank Castorf au Théâtre National de Chaillot.
Pierre Audi, metteur en scène et directeur de l’Opéra d’Amsterdam, avait fait appel à Jonathan Meese en 2010 pour la scénographie de Dionysos, l’opéra de Wolfgang Rihm, hautement salué par les spectateurs et la presse du Festival de Salzbourg.
Les voici à nouveau réunis pour la création au Théâtre des Champs-Elysées de l’opéra Médée de Charpentier en compagnie de la chef Emmanuelle Haïm et des Concert et Chœur d’Astrée.
En créant un rideau d’ouverture, où les mots L’AMOUR C’EST MOI sont inscrits, Jonathan Messe, offre au public sa vision fulgurante de l’héroïne Médée.

Réservations  01 49 52 50 50 de 11h à 18h, aux caisses du Théâtre de 12h à 19h, du lundi au samedi ou sur le site (…)

Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, France