Exhibition | Anna Lena Grau - vom tastenden Reisen | Contemporary Art at Thomas Rehbein Galerie | Köln (Cologne) | Art Week

Anna Lena Grau - vom tastenden Reisen

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Friday, 19 February 2021 to Saturday, 10 April 2021
Opening: 
Friday, 5 February 2021 -
11:00am to 9:00pm

Thomas Rehbein Galerie is pleased to announce the sixth solo exhibition by Hamburg based artist Anna Lena Grau from February 5 to March 6, 2021.

Grau is a master of experimental art casting. For over two decades she has been developing the “closed” process of casting, guided by her poetic idea of a form that is still unrealized or a form that is still possible. Even the multi-step process of traditional craft requires a high level of technical knowledge and special artistry. If artistic casting is generally used to create another and normally identical item from the impression of an object, Grau intervenes in the intermediate stages – and partial steps of the process become independent in order to expand the artistic scope. More specifically, to enable the space that lies between form positive and form negative as an actual and independent form.

What lies between form-positive and form-negative?

In the series “Packstücke” the figure of the lost form (the form negative) is itself the actual sculpture. Graus “Packstücke” show the dismantled adjutants of people traveling around the world, every piece is based on an impression of a specific suitcase. The reducation to clear concrete parts and the lack of any decorative elements, i.e. all additions that do not necessarily belong to the object, call to mind the tendencies of both minimal and pop art. Grau’s suitcases, however, have become brittle and rough in their handiness – like flotsam that was reamed on its surface. They are sculptural figures that transcend or defoliate their concrete shape – their positive form – and fall blindly and tentatively into the next dimension of Judd’s “it is, what it is”. In this way, the observer can clearly see the “state of mind” of the sculpture on the surface of the figures. Its situativity, which expresses itself as a category of space, the feel, the optics, its weight and the form.

 

“Bug Curtain”, a joint work between Anna Lena Grau and Julia Frankenberg, can sometimes be associated with a wall full of votive plaques due to the curtain-like hanging on chains. In or on them you can see concrete imprints and protuberances, of hands, of certain hand gestures and of quasi-naive relief formations that seem like ancient fossils of skeletons. Individual other panels read as a burst of what serves the basis of the previously identified formation: the supposedly flat/safe surface. For example, one of the “votive” objects is a multiplication of small modeled shields, and with another, the framing ends as a loose line.

If the various “bugs” are objects refined in aluminum that play with the fetish of the votive table, what is promised with them (the vote) manifests itself as a bulge of the living – or even dead body shape. Bodies that have pressed, kneaded or infiltrated the soft surface. “Bug Curtain” is thusfar an etude of a consistently uncanny conception. What would happen if a board, a screen or a mobile phone display suddenly became plastic and soft?

Moles dig fantastic tunnel systems, even entire architectures, through the hidden layers of the earth – and do so blindly. We only see the traces of the little animals, the excavation of their heroic work that has been brought to the surface: the well-known molehills. You get annoyed about them or stumble over them, because they are not spectacular. Organically crumbly heaps of earth matter that had to yield in order to make the animal’s habitat possible.  At the same time they mark the entrances and exits to the winding paths underground. They are signposts,

At the same time, they indicate the entrances and exits to the winding paths underground. They are signposts, they are marks on the surface of the earth.

The molehills are Grau’s earliest castings. In order to be able to cast off the original soft material, the clayey earth, she went in search of molehills in the wintry landscape. In the fresh air, mostly on cow paddocks, she set up small pouring sites around some of the mounds, that were hardened by the frost, and took the impression of the frozen , and thus hardened earth with chamotte for the casting of the form in bronze. Her gaze is directed - now she is a researcher - on the wildly detailed landscape of the hills, each one has its own character, is individual - also or despite its situational randomness. On one of the hills the chunks of earth have already been removed a little, on another the sweep of the excavation was probably greater, the surrounding earth wetter or more grainy.

And yet the view of the formations' life of their own does not apply to the production of a true portrait or identification. Grau's investigations do not apply to the phenomenon of the surface, but rather to its fragility as a boundary to another - concrete and imaginary - vibrantly poetic space. Her sculptures give back their poetry to the things that are normally assigned to lifeless space and allow us to see their vulnerability, exposure and intimacy.

(Franziska Glozer, 2020)

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0049 221 3101000

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Aachener Str. 5

50674 Köln

Cologne
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