top of page

Haute Wheels



Painters such as Cézanne and Vanessa Bell harmoniously grouped fruit, flowers, crockery and everyday objects in their still lifes. Each object had a meaning and was intended to convey something to the viewer: the beauty of the moment, for example, or the transience of life. Mia Butter's work can be seen as a kind of contemporary still life. In her solo exhibition 'Haute Wheels', the 23-year-old artist gathers together trucks and an SUV as pop-culture charged objects: a colourful lily, red balloons, an overripe fruit, the horror face of a fashionable Chihuahua. Everything is painted in bold, rich brushstrokes, floating compositionally in a mad, hallucinogenic world. Mia Butter's aesthetic is difficult to categorise because it is so unique. It could be described as a kind of diesel punk, as we know it from the cult films of the Mad Max series - but without their post-apocalyptic pathos.

Butter counters with a palette of bright oranges, greens, pinks and reds, as if she was originally inspired to paint bouquets of flowers. The iconic trucks in Butter's works literally fly around the ears, forcing their way into the picture with carnal force, as if to assert their role in front of the childish-looking protagonists. The trucks are not depicted as powerful symbols of an economy dependent on road transport.

Mia Butters paints her lorries as if they were a misproduction of the toy company Playmobil (in fact, one work features a Playmobil figure). They are trivialised monster trucks in which everything is shaking. The wheels roll alongside them in distorted perspective, the bodies are tilted, and in places Butter has painted over her strangely vivid-looking creatures of sheet metal and steel with broad brushstrokes or stylised seas of flame from the visual repertoire of trucker culture.


But Mia Butter's work is free of cynicism and obsessive criticism of capitalism. She doesn't want to tell us what to think. The Berlin-based artist is far too sophisticated and playful for that. The works in the 'Haute Wheels' series hover above much of what we have already seen and, with great aesthetic autonomy, focus on a world that hysterically rushes past us every day.

bottom of page