There they hover: oversized characters, striking advertising emblems, pictogram-like silhouettes and ornamental ribbons in the colors of the Tricolore. Anne Neukamp’s most recent paintings seem initially strangely familiar, like vague memories that emerge briefly, yet setting an abrupt end to the seductive pull of narcissist-identifying recognition in the very next moment.
We discover, among other things, cords that wrap around imaginary visual levels and figurative elements that float freely: the gaze is caught by these depictive zones of illusions and then tips over into palimpsest-like, spotted surfaces. Sharply contoured motifs heighten to the level of a trompe l’œil-like mise en scène and imaginary visual spaces seem to open, yet possible spatial accesses are simultaneously denied by abstract, vibrating color surfaces.
In confronting Neukamp’s paintings, we see ourselves involved already in earlier phases of her work in endless games of confusion where perception constantly shifts between the poles of abstraction and figuration, or back and forth between material content and spatial imagination. In her new works, however, a stiffer breeze blows. Neukamp’s current visual operations stage surface stimuli that are rich in contrast and intermediate zones that are as fascinating as they are puzzling, almost dream-like effects. Here, autonomous compositions of color and shape and intentional signs of communication permanently tilt into one another, whereby the one always makes claims on the other: it is as if they wanted to colonize one another and seek gradually to do away with their primary meanings.
In so doing, the pathetically charged color combinations of the French national flag break down because they are included with confident laxity in an ornamental, complex visual structure that consequently splits its emphaticness into unpredictable directions.
In creating her paintings, Neukamp refers to the visual vocabulary of the world of images around us: logotypes, icons, advertising, and branding that can be found on stickers, in magazines, or on the Internet. These motivic models are modified in setting up the starting composition so that their thematic intention threatens to explode and the alluded to particles of reality activate a visual conclusiveness in the context of the pictorial concept all their own. To that extent, the images offer at best fragmentary, semi-figurative references, so direct that the now homoeopathic doses of original statements seem to want to leap out at us.
The exhibition title “tl;dr,” which indicates in various directions, also alludes to this expanding web of ambiguities and clarities, indirectly, as it were. The abbreviation means “too long, didn’t read,” and is used either to comment on texts that are too long to read or to precede long articles as an ironic introduction. “tl;dr” thus stands for the impression of aesthetic contradictions that seem as affective as they are demanding. Subjecting oneself to the condensing states in Neukamp’s images, the experience of oscillation can develop various imagined possibilities while at the same time excluding them.
Text by Birgit Effinger
Translated by Brian Currid