arvo wichmann




Admission BVBK (Brandenburgischer Verband Bildender Künstlerinnen und Künstler e.V.)

since 2000

Complete dedication to the subject of “jazz” (photography and painting) – with regular exhibitions


Activity as a carpenter


Relocation to Germany – Berlin


Activity as a carpenter


Abitur – incl. Support in the children’s art school and vocational training as a carpenter


born in Tallinn (Estonia)

painting what you hear – the jazz paintings of arvo wichmann

You’ll get what you see!”, they say. But what do you get when you look at Arvo Wichmann’s pictures? They show Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Nils Landgren and other icons of jazz. You get the images, painted in bright colors, not the stars, not their music. The special quality of a painting lies in the fact that it cannot be confused with reality. A picture of a pipe is simply not a pipe. And that is why deceiving the eye through painting cannot be its primary task – even if at first glance at Wichmann’s paintings one cannot help but get the (false) impression that they show no more than a simple photograph could.
Art can do more, and Wichmann translates this plus into his signature style when he goes about his work with concentration and the will to color and form. The key to understanding his paintings is therefore to be found in the detailed precision of the paint application, in the concentrated work on the form. For the concentrated gestures of his craft reject the fleetingness of an all too transient existence. The photographer may capture the moment, painting gives meaning to the moment by giving it duration. This can be seen in particular when looking at one of the triptychs, on which the trombonist Nils Landgren can be seen in three views. Wichmann has snatched what lasted only seconds in reality from transience and brought it to life in art.
The gesture that donates time applies to musicians who have their own relationship to time. “Take Your Time” is their motto, and their music is based on playing with time, with rhythm. Portraying these musicians, putting them in the picture, also means giving a face to people who otherwise take a back seat to the music. Wichmann’s work on the human image is based on viewers who know about the music that goes with the faces. The pictures come alive with the jazz of the people depicted and, thanks to the painter’s patiently concentrated handiwork, bring qualities of jazz into focus that are often neglected in descriptions of this music. Jazz may be wild and expressive, innovative, intellectual and difficult to understand, but that’s not everything. It also essentially consists of the ability to concentrate, attention to detail, patience and skill on the instrument. Anyone who can hear these qualities in jazz will also see them in Arvo Wichmann’s art. And those who see them in the pictures are also able to hear jazz differently. You’ll see what you get.

Harald Justin