LOVE BOAT: Willehad Eilers

Suffering and love are probably closer together than anything else in this world. Willehad Eilers (1981), aka. Wayne Horse, processes this pleasurable - and painful - theme in the paintings of his third solo exhibition at Galerie Droste. In the oil paintings to which Eilers has devoted himself for several years now, tumultuous scenes open up to the viewer, to be located throughout on a ship, which gives the title of this exhibition. The LOVE BOAT of Willehad Eilers appears as a microcosm of our world, which is about to explode. Thus, an atmosphere of ecstasy is created, the dissolution of man into his primal instincts and drives, but also his need for love and affection of others. As in Eiler's previous exhibitions, LOVE BOAT is a further development of his central work subject: the fragility of the moment, which usually reveals itself when man has nothing left to lose. With his unique, sensitive and at the same time humorous view of the complex themes of human existence, this exhibition is again a spectacle, best described by the artist himself: "Look forward to a get-together in the company of intrusive, loud, sometimes funny and disturbing images. Best endured, as well as the situations described to them, with a (thousand) glasses of wine". 
Willehad Eilers, born 1981 in Peine (DE) lives and works in Amsterdam (NL). He is a graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Akadmie and graduated from the Rijksakadmie Amsterdam in 2010. 
Willehad Eilers, how can we imagine a Love Boat?
Exactly like my pictures, only a little more realistically executed.
When I was 12 years old, my father, sister and I were stuck in a storm on the English Channel for 24 hours. The captain announced various plans through the intercom. "We will try to reach Denmark instead of Germany". "It's too dangerous towards Denmark, I'll put our ship in storm direction, we'll hold out." "The shipboard telephone is free for passengers to call their loved ones".
Loved ones. That's where we got some Love. 
Otherwise, this boat stay was more about vomiting and fear. 
There is, of course, the Love Boat from the series Loveboat. However, I haven't seen an episode of that series yet, so my paintings are only influenced by the series to the extent that I imagine they might be.
And what is the theme of the exhibition?
The theme of the show is a continuation of my previous shows "Happy Holidays Forever", "May all your dreams come true", "Reality Kings" and "La Blague". 
So it continues to be about the balance between pleasure, joy and the suffering that comes with it. The way rich and poor basically work. This time with a focus on love. This has personal reasons, but also it was important to me to include the desire for warmth and being appreciated. Besides the disgust and lust, it's also a lot about support and security. The fragility of the moment and appreciation of it.
The theme is very broad. I am fascinated by the fact that I can not provide a solution or explanation. These are things that occupy me daily and I try to get closer to the processes through my images.
How do you go about your work?
I started painting with oil through Philip Mueller in 2019. The medium, contrary to its reputation, is very fast and in that it reminds me of my inks paintings from before. 
I felt like I wasn't taking a big risk anymore with the black and white paintings. Without wanting to sound arrogant, in my possibilities and in relation to my goal, I feel I have mastered ink painting. Oil is a completely new field that offers many challenges and possibilities. It fascinates me. I don't want to know what I'm creating, I want to discover it along with my works. 
My works are subject to a strict regime. The most important thing is never to try anything but to just do things. If bad, then bad, but never shy or cautious. 
Just when the house falls in, you want to pat the architect on the back benevolently. Come on, my dear, you did a great job anyway. Fortunately for me, no human lives are at stake. Only their spiritual well-being. And in these times of self-optimization, success coaching, etc., that can certainly use a damper. I find myself in the pictures I paint, and for that reason alone I have to break down a bit. I would be ashamed to show pictures that I look down on. I have to be a proud part of the problem. Otherwise it becomes charlatanry.
How are the new works different from previous works? 
They are new. They draw lessons from previous works. But are also never an end point. Everything should demand the next, otherwise I have a problem. 
Then I would be finished.
Can you describe your work in one word?
Fortunately not.
Willehad Eilers is ...?
A great guy. 
Look forward to a get-together in the company of intrusive, loud, sometimes funny now and then disturbing images. Best bearable, as well as the situations described to them, with a (thousand) glasses of wine.