until 12.06. | #3029ARTatBerlin | Galerie Born Berlin presents from 28th April 2021 the duo show The Way through the Woods with works by the artists Nora Mona Bach and Lucy Teasdale.
Charcoal is not exactly the easiest working material. In fact, it transforms Nora Mona Bach’s studio into a dusty room within seconds: the entire floor under her works is covered with the fine powder that did not stick to the paper. So it is certainly not convenience that makes the artist turn to charcoal in loose form – i.e. neither as a pencil nor mixed. She uses this medium because of its special properties and the many ways it can be used on paper. As a powder, the black can be moved and retouched effortlessly on the paper. Bach can switch between airier and denser areas and remove too much darkness if necessary. She may even enjoy the material challenges she has to overcome to complete a work. For her work always seems to be about the creative journey itself: Something has to be overcome, and only when everything has found its place does the artist fix her drawings with a spray bottle so that they stick to the paper. The finished work of art makes us viewers witnesses of this process.
Sculptor Lucy Teasdale has made it her business to make heavy things look light. Some of her works are cast in bronze, others in a colourful composite material called Acrystal, still others are made of porcelain. Often the figures – humans or animals – are only recognisable in abstract form. They are obviously living creatures, but not defined in detail or given individual characteristics. Rather, they are appearances, postures or certain movements. For example, we recognise a man waving a flag or a bird diving. In some sculptures we also see the support bars that stabilise the sculpture and connect its different parts. Sometimes the artist deliberately brings such elements into focus, as if to say: not everything has to be finely clean and smooth. All this becomes part of the forms, Teasdale involves us and in a way invites us with her works to the “construction sites” of her imagination. Her figures still bear the imprints of the fingers that formed them; the sculptor’s craft remains visible. At the same time, they have a naturalness about them – as if nature itself had allowed the sculptures to grow and contributed to their shape.
To claim that the works of the two artists in this exhibition are related would certainly be far-fetched: Their respective works form a clear contrast to each other without coming into conflict or biting each other. This is possible because the artists are each deeply rooted in their own way of working. And yet, beyond the visual, there is also something that unites the two: an interest in random forms and in an organic development of composition. In both works, balance plays a central role: on the one hand, there are the artist’s hands that want to control and define the image, and on the other, the unintended forms that emerge in the course of this process. Both artists are not solely concerned with shaping the image, but also with letting go and letting things happen. Both use strictly goal-oriented processes as well as improvisation.
In some of Nora Mona Bach’s works, it is hard to deny the perception of landscapes: There is sky or horizon, clouds or bushes, a tree or a water surface. On other occasions, however, it is difficult to name what is depicted. We see black, grey, density, brightness, we see clashing shapes; contrasts between more and less processed areas. When trying to relate those landscapes to the more abstract areas, the term “atmosphere” comes to mind – and maybe that’s what it’s all about: the artist is showing us something that represents an external meteorological situation, an inner mental or spiritual state, or pure form. It could be an outward glance or the hint of a memory, now captured on paper, like the reflection of a introspection. When she begins a drawing, the artist does have an idea of where the journey is to go, whether the tenor is rather bright or melancholy. But she does not yet know the actual, final picture. For this only becomes apparent in the course of the creative process. Time, as we know, can neither be stopped nor seen. And yet Bach seems to be driven by the desire to do just that: to touch time with her works. With her works, she makes the “dust of time” visible – even if she intervenes in the process, since she creates this dust herself in the first place. It is the artist who spreads the black powder on the surface and helps the forms to grow and condense, and it is she who prevents other forms from appearing at all. Behind this is curiosity and the desire to stop the flow of life, because our experiences can easily slip out of sight.
“The Way through the Woods” is a poem by Rudyard Kipling from 1910. For Lucy Teasdale, it is emblematic of what an artist does. The poem is about a path through the forest that over time has been overgrown by plants and trees. There was this path, but now only those who knew it can even recognise it. The sculptor likes this image of a form that is there and not there at the same time. In her work, she repeatedly draws on historical scenes that have triggered something in her – for example, a photograph of Queen Victoria’s daughters draped around a bust of their deceased father in black mourning clothes. This image served as her starting point for the three-dimensional sculpture Spanning the Globe (2021). In another sculpture, The Supremes (2021), this “globe”, the globe, is taken up in a different form: Here the title refers to a story about the Roman army leader Pompeius Magnus, who was often depicted holding a globe – an image meant to symbolise his victoriousness. Since he is often mentioned in the same breath as Julius Caesar and Marcus Antonius, we find three figures in Teasdale’s version. Their shape, however, is largely abstract: the globe could just as well be a ball and the figures carrying the globe are in the shape of boots. Many of Teasdale’s works draw on (art) historical motifs, on prints or etchings that have caught her attention. In such motifs, the artist finds our current situation mirrored. In doing so, she shows her flair for the absurd as well as for beauty and dynamics. Teasdale transfers these motifs very freely to her own material, stripping away the respective historical context and finding her own personal perspective. Sometimes she exaggerates in an almost baroque way and leaves us wondering what the essence of her expressive forms is. Between the original motif that inspired the artist and the sculptures the viewer sees, history fades and new forms emerge. It is her path through the forest.
Jurriaan Benschop, March 2021
Translation: Ingrun Wenge
Nora Mona Bach
1988 born in Chemnitz
2006 – 2012 Studies in the graphics class of Prof. Thomas Rug at Burg Giebichenstein, Halle Art Academy
2011 Study trip to Damascus (Syria)
since 2018 doctorate (Ph.D.) at the Bauhaus University Weimar
lives and works in Halle a. d. Saale
1984 born in Birmingham, England
2006 – 2007 Studies at the University of the Arts, Berlin
2007 – 2010 Studied free art at the Düsseldorf Art Academy with Tony Cragg
lives and works in Berlin
Opening day: Wednesday, 28 April 2021, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Exhibition dates: Wednesday, 28 April – Saturday, 12 June 2021
Please note: limited access due to Corona situation – information on 030 749 20 270 and 0172 88 55 692. Corona access rules apply, we keep our distance and look forward to a cup of wine in the fresh air, outside the gallery.To the Gallery
Ausstellung Nora Mona Bach + Lucy Teasdale – Galerie Born Berlin | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin