1962 born in Ingolstadt / Germany
1983 – 86 apprenticeship as cabinet maker in Munich / Germany
1987 – 93 Academy of Fine Arts Munich
since 1986 painting
since 2005 digital painting

Lives and works in Munich / Germany



1996 Galerie Waskowiak, Berlin (solo)
2006 Galerie art-ig, München (group)
2011 Stefan Saalfeld Showroom, München (solo)
2012 84 GHz, München (solo)
2012 The Wand, Berlin: „Laughing in the Mechanism“ (group)
2013 BIG DATA ART, Munich (group)
2014 UP&COMING, London, inaugural group show by Kids of Dada, March 2014
2014 LUMAS, Frankfurt/M, „JUMP“ (solo)
2016 UNPAINTED, München (group)
2020 HIDE:SEEK; bei Kroher/Strobel, München (MCBW)


Stefan Saalfeld’s works are inspired by classical painting and the possibilities of digital technology. Familiar works are split into their component parts at the computer, then taken to pieces and reassembled as multilayered models. This process lays bare contour and form and dissolves structure and context, only to ultimately allow these elements to reform in new combinations.
The selected elements can be transformed and alienated by creative use of modern photo editing programmes, and then combined to form complex image narratives. Fascinating compositions are made from layer upon layer of geometric patterns, textures and psychedelic abstractions. What appeared to be fixed forms lose their boundaries in these pictures and become part of all-encompassing structures, processes and contexts.

The computer generated aesthetic is surprisingly sensuous and nuanced. The addition of soft painted effects and illusionistic devices make for a unique mixture. Works can be composed of up to forty layers placed one over another. The creative process allows for maximum precision, right down to the tiniest detail. Saalfeld aims for his works to have a dual receptivity: from a normal viewing distance, the overarching idea of the picture and the composition is visible. A close-up view reveals an astonishing amount of detail.

Saalfeld creates his works in series, allowing him to explore the themes he has chosen in detail. He produced four bodies of works in this way between 2009 and 2012, with a visual language that ranges from sketchy webs of lines to clearly structured coloured canvases. The first of these is SPLINES, a series of expressive labyrinths made up of long lines that have no recognizable beginning or end. These diverse works achieve a synthesis between drawing, painting and generative software art. The boisterous dynamism of these pictures calls to mind Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings. The digital all-over-action is also intended to liberate the viewer’s perceptions of space.

In SWARMS and CROWDS, the visual range of references and correspondences is so rich that the viewer’s eyes are unavoidably made to see in them shadowy figures and new motives. This digital informality draws on familiar devices from abstract expressionism and takes them to their logical conclusion.

In this age of digital media, pictures are increasingly reduced to the sum of the information contained in them, and interpreted as medial codes and signs. Art history can, in this context, be seen as a sequence of an innumerable multitude of individual positions and formulations. This flow of images is the subject of STREAMS, in which a dizzyingly rapid sequence of images is shown, filtered, layered and reassembled in new combinations. On halting this imaginary stream of images, collisions and elisions are produced, which in turn form a new, post-abstract syntax. The medial, electronic aspect of this process of image generation is expressed in the use of multiple grids, which remind us of distorted photograms, and refer to phenomena such as “image noise” and “ghost images”.

The vocabulary of abstract painting is embroiled in a process of decay and transformation in ABSTRACTS. The eroded remains of once clear and ordered structures are recycled and reorganized. Like flotsam, stripes and patterned elements move across the canvas; there are collisions and elisions. Breaks and openings in the canvas allow a view of the layers underneath.

LINKS (VISIONS OF THE FUTURE: Interview with Maria Raposo)

The INTERIORS by Stefan Saalfeld are the promotional images for the worlds largest art biennale:
The World’s Largest Art Biennial is Now Online – ArtNet News
Klick für Klick zum nächsten Kunstwerk – Spiegel
Digitale Kunstschau im Netz – Deutschlandradio Kultur