until 18.11. | #4061ARTatBerlin | Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery Berlin shows from 20. October 2023 (Opening: 19.10.) the exhibition “Paradise” of the artist Amy Beager.
In a series of dreamscapes – caves, forests, islands and oceans – ethereal figures embrace, collapse and merge with their surroundings. Amy Beager’s latest series of works continues her fascination with Greek mythology and fairy tales to explore the idea of paradise and the longing for it. Her solo exhibition at Galerie Kristin Hjellegjerde in Berlin takes us on a journey into a world where scenes of romance and tragedy play out as hallucinatory visions and fever dreams.
Beager’s work probes the boundaries between body and nature, reality, the spiritual and the supernatural. While her compositions often refer to motifs from art history or certain mythological narratives, the colours, lines and textures only develop in the course of the painting process, resulting in fluid, structured forms that seem to merge into one another. This most recent series in particular deals with our relationship with nature and our dependence on it, not only the plant world but also animals.
One series of works on paper shows the artist’s cat Ashitaka in bright colours, in otherworldly spaces that seem almost luminous. In one painting, he is elevated to the status of a saint or angel, with a thin, luminous halo above his head. These works were created after her cat was diagnosed with cancer and testify not only to Beager’s deep love and respect for the animal, but also to her admiration for his resilience and majestic stature.
Other, large-scale paintings show examples of human love and grief. “After Etty”, an interpretation of a painting by William Etty based on the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, depicts the tragic reunion of two lovers. In the story, Leander swims across the ocean every night to meet Hero, who lives in a tower on an island opposite; but one night he drowns in a storm. In Beager’s painting, his body is still half in the water, while Hero seems to have thrown herself down the rocks in grief, holding his head in her arms.
In “Burrow and Sky” we again encounter two figures in a romantic embrace, but instead of being exposed to the elements, they are enclosed in a cave, their limbs intertwining not only with each other’s limbs, but also with the vines and leaves growing around them. In “Immortality Tree”, on the other hand, a figure’s body is fused with a tree whose limbs are inseparable from its trunk and roots. In a sense, these two works are a representation of the cycle of life in which we are sustained by the earth and eventually return to it.
For Beager, paradise is synonymous with this symbiotic relationship with nature, but also with a kind of self-sacrifice in which the individual is consumed by his love for another human being. This love, as portrayed in Beager’s works, has the capacity to transcend boundaries of place, time and even species. It is perilous, all-encompassing and startlingly beautiful.
Opening: Thursday, 19. October 2023, 6:30pm until 8:30pm
Exhibition dates: Friday, 20. October until Saturday, 18. November 2023
Image caption: Amy Beager – After Etty, 2023, Acrylic and oil on linen, 160 x 200 cm
Exhibition Amy Beager – Kristin Hjellegjerde Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin