ZürichRita Ackermann: Mama '20
In an exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann presents her latest body of work – a continuation of her Mama series – consisting of automatic drawings and paintings on canvas which reveal her persisting interrogation of line, colour and form.
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This new suite of paintings on both canvas and paper, feature figures and motifs which rise to the surface only to dissolve and reappear elsewhere again. In Ackermann’s Mama series, repeated imagery is often combined with vivid swathes of colour, giving her work a complex visual component that oscillates between abstraction and figuration. Her images are the product of automatic lines and gestures, a subconscious unfolding of form.
Ackermann’s distinctive approach to layering yields a framework for a maelstrom of vibrant pigments and textures that invite and immerse the viewer. In works such as ‘Mama, The Best is Always Yet To Come’ (2020), the weight of the paint’s application combined with the additive and subtractive process of colour and figurative line, evoke a nuanced interior realm. Pastel, pigment, china marker, and oil create a depth of surface, which are scraped away to reveal figures of shattered compositions.
For her new series of works on paper, Ackermann applies oil and china marker to create intimate incarnations of her larger canvases. Titling them as ‘studies’, Ackermann focuses on details of her Mama paintings, obscuring various pencil-drawn figures through thick veils of brightly coloured oil paint. ‘Mama ‘20’ at Hauser & Wirth Zürich continues Ackermann’s distinctive approach to painting and the coalescence between the personal and collective experience within.
About the artist
Born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1968, Ackermann currently lives and works in New York. Ackermann’s practice manifests in paintings and works on paper that propose a continuous shift between representation and abstraction. Employing a range of media, including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, wax pencil, and raw pigment, her expression hinges on automatic gestures and opposing impulses of creation and destruction.
Ackermann’s recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Mama ‘19’, Hauser & Wirth New York, NY (2020), ‘Brother Sister,’ Hauser & Wirth Zurich, Switzerland (2019), ‘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 been 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, Ridgefield 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. Mama ‘20’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, until 18 December © Rita Ackermann. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Jon Etter