Friederike Feldmann

Streich und Strich. Wilhelm Busch und ich

28 May - 01 Jul 2017

Installation view
Streich und Strich. Wilhelm Busch und ich
28 May – 1 July 2017

The Berlin based artist Friederike Feldmann happily plays tricks on the act of seeing and cultural visual memory. Her large format wall works like „info“ (2013) or „touch“ (2015) invoke the gesturally spontaneous color application of Informel or Tachisme, but reveal themselves upon closer examination to the planned results of a meticulous drafting process.

Her current drawings, cognizantly titled ‚Lookalikes’ (2015), also lead the eye, memory and perception into a déjavu-like limbo, oscillating between intimacy and foreigness. You have the feeling that you’ve seen the lines and themes somewhere before – perhaps in museums, on postcards or in catalogs – these irritations persist, undermining a clear attribution of the recollection. This visual and semantic static calls back to Feldmann’s fundamental interest in techniques of artistic reproduction: here imitation is not the act of counterfeiting, but rather a mode of playful appropriation, in which the mark of the art historical canon and the artist’s contemporary hand develop autonomous and dynamic hybrids.

With her solo exhibition at the KUNSTSAELE, „Streich und Strich. Wilhelm Busch und ich“ [Line and Stroke. Wilhelm Busch and I] , Feldmann provides the visitor with an analytical ingress into her chameleonic practice: in a clearly delineated spatial juxtaposition, historical role models – Wilhelm Busch’s drawings from the 19th century – and Feldmann’s contemporary responses are presented. In the smallest, cabinet-like room, jeweler’s loupes invite the viewer to put the affinity claimed in the exhibition’s title literally under the magnifying glass using the example of the picture book Hans Huckebein, and to come to a pointed understanding of Feldmann’s research process. A selection of Feldmann’s drawings, „Das Große Album“ (2016) and „Hausschatz“ (2017), on view in a further room, allow the contrast and similarities between her archetypes and her own work to become clear. Calligraphically curving lines and comic-like contours condense into supposedly representational drawings, that could have originated from Busch’s pen – if they weren’t made with felt-tip maker, enlarged to poster size and drawn by Friederike Feldmann.

A subtler reference is found in the temporary room-filling wall painting in the salon of the KUNSTSAELE: The brown paint, applied to the planes with a broad brush, reveals white rectangles of varying sizes and orientations, creating an all-round architectural composition that collaborates with the conditions of the space, such as window and door openings. The gaps mark forms that appear abstract, then arrange themselves as table frames, tops or single dancing legs. Darker, spray-painted additions at their edges simulate shadow, through which the planes of the wall break down into zones of varying depth. Here, Feldmann defines a vexatious game with figure and ground, planarity and plasticity, figuration and abstraction. Winkingly inspired by Wilhelm Busch’s last picture book "Maler Klecksel" (1849), in which a table is repurposed as a weapon in a skirmish between a painter and a jealous critic, the composition of the forms reads like the dramaturgically intensifying sequence of hinged, tilting and increasingly disjointed table-objects. The abstracted comic strip is translated into the scale of the space.

Friederike Feldmann negotiates, in a rich and humourous way, a complex conception of authorship that moves beyond polar catagories like authenticity, originality and the individual hand.

Tags: Catalogs, Friederike Feldmann