Saturday, 1 March 2014


WHITE CUBE, BERMONDSEY until 13 April 2014
Franz Ackermann, 9x9x9, 2014 © Franz Ackermann
Photo: Jack Hems, Courtesy White Cube
I've included an installation shot because this is how you experience the work when you walk into the gallery. Space, height, colour, proportion, balance, all these words melt down out of cold abstraction and become a warm living physical presence in the world. White Cube can do this better than any gallery I know. Everything about the building is on a grand scale: a cathedral aisle might comfortably fit into the central  corridor. The glass entrance doors tempt you inside but you need determination and possibly a strong shoulder to get into this promised land. Ackermann's art is perfectly suited to the drama.

His paintings and installations are centred on travel, tourism, globalisation and urbanism. You feel compelled to move around the installation, adjusting to its exuberance, feeling the energy and tension of deeply populated areas. His work often deals with the double side of tourism. These are non-places where the traveller’s desire replaces the local culture. The glamour and speed of international travel are held in tension with architectural scarring and debris.

The accompanying notes suggest that there are quasi-religious connotations in his work. Paintings hang in close proximity to one another around a prominent architectural centrepiece. Perhaps  they re-create the sensory exuberance and visual stimulation of a Renaissance chapel?  Is it too much to suggest that there is a hint of the preoccupations of Renaissance artists there too, the paradox of heaven and hell, light and darkness, sleeping and watching, glory and gunge?

No comments:

Post a Comment