Nebenbei, der Mond
If there was a soundtrack to Katharina Immekus’ latest exhibition, KATALOG, a retrospective that spans twelve formative years and makes reference to a much wider time frame, what would it feature? She is direct but not obvious. Her work is grounded in the real world. Her motifs are common but not incidental and the themes she explores are universal. The soundtrack would be diverse while defining a clear identity. The surface must be strong, the supporting layers complex. In 2007, The Postcard has suddenly become almost an icon of another time and in this respect it contains an inevitable element of nostalgia. In essence, it often makes direct references to nature. It reflects a physical existence, not a virtual one. Katharina’s paintings after postcards also pay homage to nature and the elements. The style of these pictures is clear and reflective; unpretentious, but laden with suggestions about the human relationship to the environment, both built and natural. She takes references from her personal, varied background and she draws out of these a certain aesthetic that suggests an element of displacement. Her position is a sensitive one and it provides enough distance to remain unresolved, purveying a sense of misfit.
While The Postcard suggests distance in space and time, photographs provide more personal motifs. In this way Katharina deals directly with her own relationships and she defines and reflects herself and her own condition through different surroundings and objects. Her pictures are honest without imposing upon the viewer. She knows how to be metaphorical while remaining in-tune and unfussy.
Katharina works towards creating paintings that are unadorned and clear. In this she is unapologetic and consistent. Having said that, the evidence shows that she questions herself with the same honesty with which she deals with her themes. It is interesting to note the contrast between the sensitivity of her brush strokes with her passionate style of cutting. Here she is not afraid to combine bold definition with free expression, to surprising effect.
The montages reveal an irony which makes cross cultural references, swinging from west to east with equal empathy. She toys with ambiguity; preferring to make tongue-in-cheek suggestions rather than direct statements, hence leaving the viewer with an objective distance.
Katharina Immekus combines reserve with challenge, in a way that provides a clearly defined and unmistakeable personal signature. Melancholy undertones notwithstanding, she refines her images with confidence that makes her pictures, like the best sort of anthem, unique, striking and unforgettable.