2018-09-12

AN INSIGHT INTO REBEKKA LÖFFLER'S WORK

“I am trying to see, when everything in the world conspires to prevent us from seeing”  
Bram Van Velde

The works of Rebekka Löffler seem lucid, friendly, and fresh. Colours are vivid and joyful. Patterns and repetition give most paintings a lively rhythm and a sense of transparency and order. These paintings are not the result of a tormented battle between maker and matter. There is no visible labour or sweat. Attracted by their colorful lightness and their engaging rhythm, one approaches these works with confidence. They look willing and ready for consumption.

Once you start looking for an entrance, however, confusion sets in very quickly. Not finding an easy access, one tries to hold on to whatever looks familiar. One seems to recognize representations of known domestic objects and motifs, but their forms quickly dissolve and slip through one’s fingers like sand, and so one looks harder. The same goes for the painterly gestures: some of the gestures look familiar while others recall well-known modernist movements. These gestures, in which the liberating alliance between body and matter was inscribed, come back in Rebekka’s works as echoes and images.

The paintings are filled with things that are going either towards or away from representation; things that are not yet or are no longer named. Although they look finished and finalized; everything in the paintings is fluid and in a state of becoming. There is no reassuring division between figure and background. There is no clearly framed window and thereby not one perspective. The paintings have more than one focal point and destabilize a two-dimensional understanding of space. The space that these paintings show can only be seen if one is willing to give up control and be moved. In trying to see what happens in the painting, you have to leave your point of view, lay down your grasping gaze, and make your sight a physical and mobile experience.

Much as in Hans Holbein’s Ambassadors, you can never see the whole picture at once, which brings in notions of time and travel. Only after giving up a functional perception and the will to communicate and consume can you find access to these works. Your eyes have to drift and wander.

It is, therefore, no coincidence that in recent years, Rebekka has started to build mobiles (‘Dangling’, 2017). The mobiles could be considered a metaphor for her paintings. The mobiles show the impossibility to perceive the world from one angle. A mobile gives back your body to your sight. It is this recovered physical perception that is experienced when contemplating this work.

The works of Rebekka Löffler are puzzling, brilliant, and daring.

VINCENT GEYSKENS