The latest body of work features a suite of new paintings in which figures and motifs rise to the surface of canvases, only to dissolve and reappear elsewhere again.
'Rita Ackermann’s 'Hip-Shot' is a graceful, yet savage composition of large scale oil and wax paintings, silhouetting a woman’s profile in a classically arranged manner that is conveyed through abstract emotions rooted in contemporary conceptual perspectives.'
On the heels of her recent solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth in New York City, we invited Hungarian-born painter Rita Ackermann to record a conversation with an artist of her choice.
There is a scene in Uli Edel's 1981 film, Christiane F.-We Children from Banhof Zoo, in which Christiane F., going through withdrawal, pukes all over the room and her boyfriend. The film tips, for a second, toward Otto Muehl-type grotesquerie, only to reel back in with Christiane folding into a fetal position. This could be a scene in one of Rita Ackermann's early works, if we delete the boyfriend and recede the withdrawing junky to the background while multiplying her three or four times as she undertakes multiple simultaneous activities. Paintings such as ‘Cold Turkey with Bon Bons’, 1993, and ‘We Mastered the Life of Doing Nothing’, 1994, are filled with idling and pubescent ‘cat-eyed nymphs’ (a description they can't shake, now that it's been repeated to no end), undressed or on the way there, shooting up or doodling in their notebooks or on the phone or barfing through withdrawal. The paintings are landscapes of late-adolescent ennui, stills from a road movie of runaways trying their luck away from the little provincial towns they've finally managed to flee. It's a narrative of taut young bodies attempting to carve a refuge out of the edges of the world to which they've been sentenced, to negotiate an Outside-as much a place as an impinging force that rubs raw the edges of everything, not least those of painting itself.
From the built-up masses of paint and sand to the oil seeping into the linen, erasure makes the body spongy and absorbent in Rita Ackermann’s ‘Picnic’ (2012).