Hauser & Wirth presents ‘Brother and Sister’, an exhibition of new works by the Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann.
Throughout her practice, Ackermann has continuously challenged means of representation and abstraction in contemporary painting. Ackermann’s often ghost-like compositions are achieved through sweeping, determined gestures of drawing, painting and erasing, wherein figures rise to the surface only to dissolve again. The various new series on view in the Zurich gallery persist in their interrogation of how the artist’s consciousness, intentions, and movements manifest at a borderline between the formal aspects of her oeuvre.
As the exhibition title suggests, the new paintings on view draw from personal subject matters. Ackermann’s series of her Brother Paintings depict a boy skiing, whose figure is abstracted through a twilight snowstorm. The abstractions reach new heights in the artist’s recent Papi Palette Paintings, a new series in which enlarged photo reproductions of various dust jackets are utilised as surface. While illuminating the acute influence of books and literature on her practice, Ackermann obscures her various pencil-drawn figures through thick swatches of brightly coloured oil paint. Also exhibited are a continuation of the artist’s signature Chalkboard paintings, which feature figures shifting in and out of sight on the green primed chalk canvas.
Rita Ackermann on ‘Brother and Sister’
Drawings are like veins; blood vessels leading to the heart…I do not know if life is forever, but I know I make paintings to live. Therefore, I must deconstruct the contours of the figure…Erased, blurred boundaries, no limits. Automatical drawings of the Dada games gave the line to the blind. The lines of the unconsciousness which lead to the unknown. Over and over re-addressing the line to blindly find the contour. Through the lines there is a flow, fast and slow, always with a different speed. Without mastering humility, it is not possible for me to obtain the vertical mobility needed to illuminate new boundaries in painting. And what I hope for my paintings is that they think themselves into existence.
Rita Ackermann was born in 1968 in Budapest, Hungary. She currently lives and works in New York. Ackermann’s recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Movements as Monuments’, La Triennale di Milano, Italy (2018); ‘Turning Air Blue’, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, England (2017); ‘KLINE RAPE’, Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd Street, NY (2016); ‘The Aesthetic of Disappearance’, Malmö Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden (2016); ‘Chalkboard Paintings’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Switzerland (2015); ‘MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE-HAIR WASH’, Sammlung Friedrichshof, Burgenland, Austria and Sammlung Friedrichshof Stadtraum, Vienna, Austria (2014); ‘Negative Muscle’, Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street, NY (2013); ‘Fire by Days’, Hauser & Wirth London, Piccadilly (2012); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami FL (2012); ‘Bakos’, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2011); and ‘Rita Ackermann and Harmony Korine: ShadowFux’, Swiss Institute, New York NY (2010).
Ackermann’s work has also featured in numerous group presentations including ‘Michael Jackson: On the Wall’, National Portrait Gallery, London, England (2018); ‘Tainted Love’, Contort Moderne, Poitiers, France (2018); ‘Transmissions: recreation- repetition’, Paris, France (2015); ‘Extreme Drawing: Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950’ The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridge eld CT, (2013); ‘Pivot Points: 15 Years and Counting’, MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Miami FL (2013); ‘Looking at Music: 3.0’, Museum of Modern Art, New York NY (2011); ‘Inaugural Exhibition’, New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art, New York NY (2010); ‘Street and Studio’, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria (2010) and ‘Whitney Biennial’, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2008).Installation view, ‘Rita Ackermann. Brother and Sister’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, 2019 © Rita Ackermann. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Jon Etter