22 December 2011

The Space In Between / The paintings of Marco Reichert

Marco Reichert (born in 1979), living and working in Berlin, explores two main areas in his recent work; on the one hand, he searches the maze of images in the surrounding world for fruitful shapes, surfaces and objects. On the other hand he toys between figuration and abstraction, blurring the boundary between the two. The combination of these ways of seeing, has uncovered a new language, specific to the artist.

The artist skill lies in inviting the viewer on an apparently recognizable journey, then transporting them to an unexpected and often unexplored destination. The effect is of being abandoned in an in-between space. We are lured in with recognizable forms, a seductive palette and luxurious surfaces. However, just as we feel we have a footing, just as we begin to recognize our territory, the ground before us slips away, and we arrive in a new, unknown world.

Influenced by photorealism, Reichert probes his multi-media image bank, allowing the sources to seep into the work to greater or less degrees; from direct, unashamed theft, to subtle, underlying referencing. These references act as handholds for the viewer- something to grip onto in complex surroundings.

In his ‘Jelly Series’, Reichert blows up advertisement-like Images of glistening fruits, cakes and jelly to large formats, redefining them as something completely new. These work sit somewhere between a classic landscape, science fiction and strange organic substances.

In Reichert’s painted world, figures, faces, toys- recognizable objects slip in and out of focus. Their existence simultaneously grounds and gives scale to the matter in which they appear, whilst also posing questions to the viewer. The flawless technique and crisp clarity of the works, seems to suggest a, ‘what-you see-is-what-you-get’ simplicity, but we can never be sure of what it really is we’re looking at. Just as with the classic optical illusion, were a simple line drawing simultaneously represents and old hag and a beautiful young woman, Reichert is demanding us to find answers and to return to explore further. It is not about “what the artist wants to tell us”, Reichert asks the viewer what the painting is telling about you.

Reichert is particularly fascinated with the materiality of the surfaces he represents. Again there is a tension and uncertainty in the way they are presented; on one look they seem seductive almost lick-able, then suddenly they shift to sticky, abject, bodily substances. In the artist’s own words the surfaces sit, “between glaring gemstones and erotic look-and-feel flowing liquids. They also give a nod to the b-movie aesthetic of films like ‘The Blob’ from 1958.”

In his recent series “Magic Mountains” Reichert revives the references to classical landscapes but again based in his own imaginary world. Psychedelic shapes and a kind of Pop-art complexion brings the observer in an environment he has to explore. These Mountains remind us of silk, glaciers with candy filled valleys or scientific macro-photography. The intermixture of contexts creates new content.

“I am discovering the turning point of figurative to abstraction and the other way round. So I am looking for something new like abstract photorealism or better a hyperreal abstraction.”

It is precisely the fact that we are unable to pin down any one aspect of Reichert’s work, without it wriggling away from under out fingers, that makes the works so visually arresting. We are led on a fascinating, unexpected journey, where the artist masterfully gives us just enough enticement to continue.


Actual group show: Ode On Melancholy / The Janinebeangallery  is located at Torstrasse 154, Berlin. 
The exhibition will run until the 28th of January.