Verve – Sebastian Helling vs Richard Schur

at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

On one side, raw colour, seemingly uncontained, in ragged lines, loose, shifting forms and graffiti-scribbles. On the other, clear and clean colour blocks, presented with the geometric precision of Mondrian. On the surface, it’s a battle between order and chaos fought on canvas, with colour as weaponry.


This is the scene at the Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery in West London, where Oslo-based artist Sebastian Helling and his German counterpart Richard Schur are engaged in what seems at first glance to be artistic warfare. Helling’s expressive, energetic canvases present splashes of paint and text, sometimes spray-painted on, sometimes applied with a brush then smudged with fingers. Schur’s methods couldn’t be more different; his layered colour swatches are deliberately, precisely applied to gradually build up tone and texture.

Verve Installation-1

Although the two artists may seem like polar opposites – emotion, impulse and movement set against cerebral, systematic restraint – but look closer and it becomes clear that, although their methods may differ, Schur and Helling have a similar aim. Both use the addition and subtraction of layers and the tension between positive and negative to create abstract narratives, stories told in colour. Contrary to first impressions, this exhibition is not a battleground, but a stage set for a dialogue about the relationship between the painter and colour, and the various ways in which applying and stripping away layers of colour can be used to create, as Schur has put it, ‘new songs, not new sounds’.


Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery
533 Old York Road
London, SW18 1TG




Tuesday to Saturday, 11am–6pm



Admission is free.

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