P420 is delighted to present at Arco E-xhibition a solo show by Helene Appel (1976, Karlsruhe, DE - lives and works in Berlin, DE) .
The recurring themes in the works of Helene Appel are more or less always the same, taken from everyday life, or rather from an everyday home life, as if she were painting things that are under her gaze, in a home kitchen. Chopped leeks, grains of rice, tea towels: painted in such detail that they look real, or like a trompe-l’oeil, and yet, as a result of their proportions in relation to the canvas, almost abstract. Subjects – if you will – of a staggering banality, obviously painted in place of something else, in order to say something else.
Painted from life and, we can imagine, slowly. One brush stroke at a time, day after day, because painting remains of all the arts really the one that best identifies the artist with his own studio, the site of a daily drill, the stage of a dialogue with oneself, attempts sometimes successful and sometimes not. Those of Helene Appel are still lifes with only one subject at a time. Reminiscent of Chardin, for their light, or the few, beautiful still lifes of Zurbarán, in which a cup or a rose appear to jut out of the picture, like in an offering; or even – inevitably – Morandi, for the painstaking care with which, we imagine, Helene places the items that she will paint in different sizes and layouts. Here, like elsewhere, vegetables, dishes, fish and meat, fabrics and branches or flowers, which are the classic themes of the genre, are pretexts to reaffirm the essence of painting: indexes that serve to refocus attention on the surface of the painting, and on the picture as a surface.
Text by Cecilia Canziani
Recent exhibitions include: Portraits, Rüdiger Schöttle Gallery, Munich, DE (2021) On Survival, Britta von Rettberg Gallery, Munich, DE (2021); ELEMENTUM, singular positions in the CCA collection, CCA Andratx, Spain, ES (2020); E subito riprende il viaggio, P420, Bologna (2020); (…AUSSER VIELLEICHT EINE KONSTELLATION, Hommage á Giandomenico Tiepolo, Galerie Oqbo, Berlin, DE (2020); Le realtà ordinarie, Palazzo de’ Toschi, Bologna, IT (2020).
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