Galerie Christian Lethert is pleased to announce Christiane Baumgartner’s (*1967) first solo exhibition at its premises. Baumgartner, one of the most innovative figures in the art of contemporary printmaking shows for the very first time additionally to monochrome woodcuts also her multi-colored works from the series »Cosmic Fruits«.
Baumgartner’s woodcuts are based on images – photographs, videos, documentations –found or produced by herself and then transferred in traditional prints using ancient woodcutting techniques. She masterfully engraves the wood using horizontal lines, the structure thus indicating the former image and having to be completed by the viewer due to the grade of abstraction. Baumgartner skilfully uses this abstraction and coarsening of perception to deal intensively with the concepts of time, space and motion, and the problem of depicting them.
The nearly two by three-meter-work »Storm at Sea« (2013) depicts an enormous wave. Baumgartner used a film still she made by filming a documentary on TV as starting point. The change of medium leads to a particular default, the so called Moiré which occurs when a secondary pattern is superimposed on the primary one that then creates an optical illusion of sorts. To see the work as a whole as well as the complexity of the details the accommodation of one’s eyes is constantly necessary.
Baumgartner also used film as a source for her less abstract series »Kleines Seestück I-IV« (2011). Through the use of a self generated line grid, the woodcuts seem to flicker when looked at and the scene that has been brought to a standstill appears to be moving once again.
The new works »Weisse Sonne« (2016) and »Schwarze Sonne« (2016), both based on own pictures she took herself, evoke associations with a solar eclipse. During an eclipse, it is tempting but still dangerous to stare at the sun directly because the eye’s protective mechanism, the contraction of the pupil, does not function. Thirty years after the catastrophe of Chernobyl dangerous rays open up an even wider dimension, there are multiple and more subtle definitions of Baumgartner’s work. In the adjacent room of the gallery, the work »Deep Water« (2013), a diptych of a reflection in a canal, also combines beauty and catastrophe. The title references the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 which happened whilst the artist was participating in a residency in Birmingham where she collected the footage for the piece.
In the second room, Baumgartner presents four works from her new series »Cosmic Fruits« (2016). Multi-colored prints are rarely included in her body of work. Looking at these almost spherical, planet-like objects flickering in colors like green, blue, orange and violet opens the possibility of a contemplative experience and an immersion into seeing.