Rita Ackermann
Fire by Days

Past Exhibition 18 Sep – 3 Nov 2012 London


Hauser & Wirth is proud to present ‘Fire by Days’, an exhibition of the eponymous series of paintings and works on paper by New York-based artist, Rita Ackermann. ‘Fire by Days’, a title inspired by French poet Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’s ‘Vacancy in Glass’, began as an accidental spill of paint on the artist’s studio floor, which Ackermann mopped up using a Hungarian fire safety poster.

‘Vacancy in Glass’

To a palace made
Of wind
To a palace whose towers
Are pillars of fire by day
To an opal palace
In the sky’s zenith heart
The bird of pale air
In a swift white line
On black space
A brushstroke
Signifying absence

Roger Gilbert-Lecomte (1907 – 1943)
In ‘Black Mirror: The Selected Poems of Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’

‘These paintings came to me from, or as, an accident: suddenly the forms and shapes of hastily cleaning up a mess of paint on a surface suggested something that wasn’t a figure or a face, but rather both, or abstract. This is how the first ‘Fire by Days’ images arose. I had no intention to make this picture. It was an accident.’

‘As Paul Virilio once said, “Sublimation of the hunt…the course of painting imposes a cleared surface, a sublimation of war”. The speed of the action demanded a pure surface in which I found the perfect image. To roll in complete freedom and depth in the desert; this is far more exciting than passing through a delimited course.’

‘I wanted to then duplicate the pure power of the accident and through this image, multiply its freedom. By repeating the elements of the raw creation of a “disaster” and failing to keep it from unintentional “learned” gestures, I succeeded at arriving at something that violently pushed itself between figuration and abstraction, pushing through to make itself completely free. This type of freedom in painting only arrives for mere seconds, or rather for an immeasurable amount of time, but reveals infinite perspective.’

‘In these paintings, the moment – that immeasurable amount of time while the artist is allowed to hold “the foot of God” – produces an image that carries itself through the surface, through its depth to open itself to the next work that will also attempt to stretch “the moment” of peace in constant war’.

Rita Ackermann
July 2012

Selected images

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Installation views

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About the artist

The opposing impulses of creation and destruction mark the touchstone of the Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann’s practice, which continues to evolve and manifest itself in the shift from representation to abstraction. Ackermann’s compositions occupy a space between the figurative and…

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