Willehad Eilers (1981, Peine, Germany) also works under the pseudonym Wayne Horse. Beginning his career in the German graffiti scene, Eilers later went on to graduate from the Royal Academy of Arts in Amsterdam. He continues to live and work in the Dutch capital today. His eclectic body of work comprises video, drawing, performance and installation, and is distinctive for its lyrical quality, playful humor and expressiveness. A recurring narrative in his oeuvre revolves around the bizarre, occasionally ugly but always compelling aspects of humanity.
To refer to Willehad Eilers as an artist-ethnographer is not too much of a stretch. Describing his practice as an investigation of the heuristically learnt political and cultural mores that define contemporary society, Eilers gently nudges us towards a poetic realization of our social selves through his highly performative range of paintings, installations, videos and drawings. Infused with a mischievous, effortless confidence, Eilers’ crude-style works offer us anthropological insight into his observations of the flawed human condition and its perpetual evolution. He unflinchingly presents us with images that convey the disposition of the modern individual towards grotesque, even masturbatory obsessions. Underlying his practice is an artistic methodology that recalls the theorist James Clifford’s concept of “ethnographic surrealism”: he assails the quotidian situations that we think are familiar, and renders them unrecognizable. By mounting successive challenges to the hegemonic boundaries of our imagination, Eilers provokes his viewers into directly interacting with his highly unique works.