We are very pleased about our second solo exhibition with works by the Düsseldorf-based artist Silke Albrecht (*1986 in Soest). Albrecht, who first studied painting with Michael van Ofen at the Academy in Münster from 2006 to 2010, graduated from the Academy in Düsseldorf in 2015 as a student of Andreas Gursky. Even in Gursky‘s class Albrecht studied painting, but already had a much broader concept of the medium. „Broader“ is also the keyword that interests in our exhibition track bound. For in the new works, processes and materials dominate. It is not primarily images or projections of thoughts onto the canvas that are of concern to the artist.
Accordingly, Albrecht did not primarily apply the one (color material) to the other (painting ground) in the works that are summarized under the heading Contact. Rather, the processes already begin with sewing together sheets („tracks“) of different and, above all, differently colored fabrics (cotton and linen). Already now Albrecht makes a compositional decision and creates a (relatively) flat object that can be hung on the wall after further treatment, rather than a painting surface. With this object Albrecht continues to work in a process- and object-like manner: lacquers of various kinds (clear lacquer, mixed with the resinous-yellow shellac, white and black lacquer) are poured and cast onto the lying surface; oil paint is rubbed, sprayed, painted (certainly also occasionally with a brush); stretched metals – that is: purchased metal sheets in which the manufacturer has made cuts at regular intervals and which have then been stretched so that grid-like structures have been created – are connected, basically glued on to the sewn-together materials by the poured lacquers. The moisture of the lacquers, together with the metal of the expanded metals, unleashes rusting processes that Albrecht cannot really control, but which she uses as a painterly means.
These are all processes that exist in each case in the here and now of creation and are fixated as such. They are chemical processes that do not so much invoke the miraculous powers of alchemy as bear visible witness to the artist‘s processual and also physical actions.p And against, so it can be described, these processes Albrecht occasionally sets more or less large, seemingly drawn images, for example of her torso (Contact ) or of herself and her boyfriend in the moment of an intimate kiss (Contact [dissociated material] ). „Seemingly“ drawn because these very personal images are stitched and not really drawn. They are therefore created in a decelerated process, because stitching takes a lot of time and correspondingly precise preparatory work. Albrecht contrasts the material-heavy work on the large surface, which overcomes the „tracks“, content-related and compositional guidelines, and thus is no longer „track bound“, with the smaller and slower form that tells of her own life. This is a sovereign act that transcends genre boundaries and categories („abstract painting“ vs. „figurative painting“) and relates the contact with her own, physical self with the narrative of what concerned her during the times when she was forced to focus her life on herself and her closest circle.
For the other group of works from the exhibition, which she has subsumed under the title traces, Albrecht has merely assembled various painting ground materials from different elements, creating diptychs and trip-tychs. Here it is quite individual, delicate traces that she leaves on the surfaces, traces that liberate painting from the regime of depiction and – again – create a unity of color and object. Basically, different images of light emerge: on the one hand, the metallic surfaces (copper and brass), which – barely treated with graphic traces of lacquer – actually reflect the light given in a space. On the other hand, we can associate rays of light refracted through glass (and thus made visible in their color spectrum), which, however, are not painted as such on a surface, but are literally embodied by the red and yellow pigments that are rubbed into the thick, white layer of oil paint in a flat, cloudy manner. Finally there are the „representations“ of light as it is created in a furnace with burning matter, executed in lacquer and shellac, applied in a relief-like manner.
Quite new in the œuvre of Silke Albrecht are the ink drawings that allow us a very emotional, personal insight into her life in 2021. The overcoming of tracks, patterns of action, which were shaped by her private life before Corona, by conventions, imprints and doubts and not least also by the legal, pandemic-related requirements, are cast here in concise images. Typewritten thoughts or sentences („nothing is repeatable“ / „I try to leave the track, but I just can‘t“) expand the associative space.
Philipp von Rosen, November 2021