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