FRANK AHLGRIMM. TRUST ME. 08.04.2016 – 20.05.2016 

Press Release
Exhibition Views

english / deutsch

The fourth solo show at the Galerie Reinhard Hauff by the Berlin artist Frank Ahlgrimm 1965) is an invitation: Trust me. The proposal to trust and follow what and how the artist paints goes back to his drawings and works on paper. Because the world of images, which Frank Ahlgrimm* presents, fuse the seemingly conflicting and contradictory. His broad ranging abstract form language span clear colour fields and impulsive colour textures with illusionistic sprayed areas, a combination of text and image, and go all the way to figurative subjects which always contain a reflection on the state of todays social environment.
Trust me places paintings from two different series on an equal footing next to each other within the exhibition: abstract next to works with text—both subjects which for years form the basic component of the artist’s modular method of composition, and appear in individual works, or exist as autonomous groups of works.
In the works from the current abstract series, such as
Ken Burns Game I, 2016, illustrated on the invitation card, two different techniques are used in the same composition: sprayed lacquer colours collide with thick impasto oil paint and meet at sharp edges. From a visual point of view a seemingly illusionistic black and white profile is overlapped by a monochrome form whose colour density has transformed the two-dimensional colour field to a three-dimensional sculptural form by using massive layering and modelling of the paint layers. Value is added to the tonality of the thickly applied oil paint through the ambivalence of its attribution. The colours seem attractive, physical, absorbing, but at the same time curiously undefined. Out of this contrast the colour field acquires a tension – not an optical illusion of depth achieved with the play of light and shadow – but more like a cartographic landscape relief seen from above. The relief could be derived from zooming in or out of the Macro – or Micro cosmos and from the illusionistic potential alluded to in the title of the painting.
In his works with text,
Frank Ahlgrimm uses painted letters of a distinct typography he has created himself. Through the painterly colour gradient formation of the letters they look like moulded pipes or tubes. The selected text fragments or descriptions come from quotations from films or novels, sentences or advertisement. In Frank Ahlgrimm they trigger various images, and can either be decoded depending on the length and layering of the rows, or appear as purely painterly or ornamental elements on the picture surface. The content of the painted text – quite aside from the semantic meaning of the individual letters – can be read also as painted form. They become modular structure and the title of the image itself becomes again a trigger. The artist sets content and data, which has been built digitally, against analogue painting by the artist. He uses the traditional method of collage, which has long been common as cut-and-paste construction of individuality and normality in the digital world, to add a new tactile, visual vocabulary to the associative level of meaning in his paintings.
Coinciding with the opening of the show at the Galerie Reinhard Hauff appears the catalogue
Trust me, published by the Kerber Verlag, which will document, among other aspects, the two groups of works exhibited. The catalogue in German and English is the first comprehensive overview of the diversity of Frank Ahlgrimm’s various material processes, in which the artist continuously strive to renegotiate the history of painting and the cross references to the mythologies of art, as well as the challenges of incorporating a personal interpretation of a way of life.