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Indepth Arts News:

"New Works by Dutch Artist Michael Raedecker"
2004-07-25 until 2004-10-03
Salzburger Kunstverein, Kunstlerhaus
Salzburg, , AT Austria

The Salzburger Kunstverein continues its series of exhibitions devoted to figurative painting with a presentation of new works by Dutch artist Michael Raedecker in its summer exhibition. Michael Raedecker, a native of Amsterdam who now lives in London, combines painting with the techniques of embroidery and appliqué in his paintings. He works in traditional genres, and his oeuvre includes still lifes and portraits as well as interiors and landscapes. Many of Raedecker`s works are deliberately positioned at the boundary line between art and kitsch.

A particularly fascinating aspect of Michael Raedecker`s painting is his unusual use of yarn and embroidered elements in combination with acrylic paints. His paint is often either applied very thinly or literally piled onto the canvas. Raedecker consistently merges the reality of the depicted image with the reality of his material, as in the work in which a thread representing a tree casts as shadow into the scene, both as a thread and as the tree it depicts.

Raedecker`s interiors and landscapes present seemingly familiar settings. Landscapes without human figures, solitary houses and indoor rooms evoke a sense of familiarity but are equally discomforting. Although a brightly illuminated garage entrance, for instance, suggests that people must be nearby, Raedecker`s world of images is often strangely devoid of human presence. Stories without figures unfold in his paintings, evoking feelings of abandonment and latent unrest. The emptiness of the spaces in these works creates a sense of mystery and intensity. "This nowhere-yet-everywhere land", writes Jennifer Higgie, "a place that every picture Raedecker makes seems to signpost - is capable of touching deeply buried nerves." (Michael Raedecker, Instinction, Basel 2002, p. 58 f.)

The philosopher and architectural theorist Bart Verschaffel finds something "unsettling" in all of Michael Raedecker`s paintings. "we do not readily comprehend what is actually happening in them nor do they offer us an ideal viewing distance from which we might feel that the image coalesces into an accessible whole. The paint, the various kinds of threads, and the other materials sometimes pasted and painted over, work at cross purposes. At the distance where, for example, the paint still yields an immaterial ´image` and forms readable figures, the threads already break away form the whole and turn into 'wool` and 'hairs` that undermine the image. On closer examination, loose hairs and threads stuck into the paint, along with protruding lumps of paint, evoke miniature landscapes, which then again approximate the complete image first seen in the painting, and so on." (Parkett no. 61, Zurich 2002, p. 99, 101.)

The embroidery in the paintings corresponds to the weaving of a story which begins here for the viewer. The different realities Raedecker develops in his paintings are revealed in the interplay of proximity and distance, the familiar and the strange, foreground and background, inside and outside, reality and illusion, dark and light.

In keeping with the tradition of Dutch painting, his works frequently allude to the transience of all things.

The paintings presented at the Salzburger Kunstverein offer an overview of the various facets of Raedecker`s oeuvre, although the exhibition emphasizes works completed during the past several months. This is the first presentation of the work of this important artist in Austria.

Michael Raedecker was born in Amsterdam in 1963. He studied fashion design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and painting at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and Goldsmiths College in London. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2000. Raedecker will be represented at the biennial in Sydney, Australia, this year.

A catalogue featuring an interview with the artist will accompany the exhibition (price 10 Euro).

Michael Raedecker
The Reflex, 2003
Acrylic and Thread on Linen,
190 x 300 cm
Courtesy: The Approach, London

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