MAY 15 - JUNE 13 2010 / 0515 - 06132010

Opening reception: May 15 2010. 5pm - 9pm at stage候台BACK.


Franca Bartholomäi‘s woodcuts are unique within German contemporary art. In no other artistic oeuvre isthe tradition and iconography of the woodcut combined with romantic and psychedelic motifs from the 19thand 20th centuries, forming images of such expressive power. The viewer feels himself involuntarilyreminded of Albrecht Dürer, of the woodcut series of expressionism, of a German art tradition in the bestsense of the word, which has been interiorized by Franca Bartholomäi. In her ‘Night and dream pieces’ theartist unfolds references to space and time, which were already incorporated into the style of the graphicgenre by Dürer. Out of contrasts and contours, forms and episodes arise which open up far much more than themere physically perceivable world to our observation. . Perhaps this is one of the components of the magicinduced by these images made out of interlocking hemispheres and events, that they are cut out of one andthe same wood block, from whose hatchings and notches alone their ethereal identity is drawn.


There is also a second woodcut tradition, spanning from the late gothic right up to expressionism, to whichFranca Bartholomäi sure-footedly connects. The traditions of so-called “black romanticism”, whichcan be observed in the ramifications of Franz Kafka’s or of the filmmaker David Lynch’s work. To theseFranca Bartholomäi’s oeuvre is indebted, more than to the surrealistic and symbolic programs of the 20thcentury. Her pictures are illustrations of an imaginative tale, of an unwritten text. And in this dimension too  her work is an avowal of faith towards the origins and the strangeness of the woodcut.


Jacob Burckhardt says in his essay on narrative painting that: the picture “ought to induce through its artisticforce such a mood from the outset that one would expect the Utmost “. Voilà! Here is an artist — shefulfills his criterion.


Text by Manon Bursian