Franziska Hufnagel  Birds and Words + Morgenröte

15/08/2015 – 12/09/2015

Eröffnung: Freitag, 14. August 2015, 19-22 Uhr
Opening: Friday, August 14th, 2015, 7-10 pm

Galerie Nagel Draxler
Weydingerstr. 2/4
10178 Berlin

Press Release

There are many ways of incorporating text into paintings, and over the last few hundred years we have probably seen them all. Some artworks depend on the text, others are illuminated (or obscured) by anything from a caption to an ekphrasis that could almost replace the image itself. The relationship is usually so clear that there can be a sense of disappointment, a feeling that the palimpsest of words and images, if scratched at like an old advertising poster, might not reveal anything more than afterthoughts (or forethoughts).

However, the new paintings of Franziska Hufnagel present a symbiotic, simultaneous rather than ‘added on’, admixture of word and painted image. The images continue her representation of strange birds doing (thinking? telling us?) strange things, but they float over, dive-bomb or survey landscapes of multi-dimensional painted references to many things that might send a shiver down our spines, one of joy, recognition or even fear. And then the text. I have to say “and then” in a sequential series of words and phrases like this, but in fact they are no more ‘later’ or ‘earlier’ in the genome of her painted DNA than any link in that chain.

The texts come from books her father wrote between 1970 and 2003. Franziska Hufnagel chose the simplest quotations from often complex novels. The images are absolutely not illustrating the words. The words are not adding anything to the image, they are the image, or part of it. The importance perhaps lies, as so often in art, not in the ‘what’, but in the ‘why’. The artworks contain their own ‘fuzzy logic’, that defies any attempt at separation. But we wouldn’t want to separate them, nor to consider them separately. The whole is not more, nor less, than the sum of the parts. It is precisely the parts-in-a-whole.

The paintings are beautiful in a number of ways, and amongst them is emotion without being emotional, painting far beyond surface, and art that anyone from a connoisseur to a kid in off the street can appreciate.

Brian Reffin Smith - 2015