Friday, April 16th, 6:00 - 9:00pm
April 16 - May 14, 2010
Golden Voyage Experience, collage on paper, 27.5" x 19.5", 2009
Romer Young Gallery is pleased to announce OKTOGON, its second solo exhibition with Berlin artist Gwenaël Rattke. In this exhibition, Rattke presents a series of paper-based collages and drawings.
Although drawing from a collection of references, preoccupations, thoughts and art [German history, Turkish music, Utopian collective communities, political photomontage, Art Brut and Surrealism, the “happy apocalypse,” the connection between modernity and the birth of psycho-analysis, to name a few], deeply central to the artist’s work is a longing for communal aspirations. In search of this collective spirit, Rattke works through expressions of solitude, sexuality, and mystical quests. The artist says of his work: "the collages are an amalgamation of things that I see, feel, dream, and possibly long for. They are fragments of subjective experiences, which get translated into images, adjusted through the infinite mechanical possibilities of the Xerox machine, then cut up and reconfigured into new images. Or rather a kaleidoscope of images somewhere between reality and the subconscious."
By way of his dreaming, longing, and imagining, the artist also alludes to (and perhaps undergoes) a symbolic baptism of sorts. The title of the show, Oktogon, referring directly to an intersection in Budapest also loosely refers to the Budapest "Kiraly" baths, 16th century Ottoman baths built during the Turkish occupation of the area. Strange and special, everything in the architecture of the baths is based on the eight-sided shape of the octagon. Credited throughout the ages as a powerful symbol, the octagon represents spiritual rebirth, renewal, regeneration, totality, infinity, transition and eternal life. In these baths the artist discovers a structure both physical and spiritual that gives shape to his ideas in both form and content. For Rattke, the octagon becomes metaphor for the inter-connectedness of all things: real or imagined, past, present and future, and for the overlapping kaleidoscopic nature of his own streaming thought patterns.