Quintessential / crystallized. In the small corridor at the entrance, I am welcomed by Suite, 2015, a work – a digital print – that represents a musical instrument: a triangle held by a human hand.
One would expect analogue works in the main room of the gallery but this would be wrong. I enter the main room, and I find both figurative and abstract paintings. The woman looking to my left, a work titled Beauty Fields, 2015, has somehow the same attitude of suspension and immobility as the work at the entrance.
In the meantime, I am thinking about the space and what this word means.
The following work, an abstract geometric piece titled Suite II (after Bruch), 2015, is intriguing. It looks like an appendix, yet simultaneously it contains quite a large amount of intensity. The play between the three works I am looking at is indeed complex.
Let’s sum up what we’ve seen so far: A crystallized woman, a young man + comics, titled Antichambre, 2015, and a geometric abstract work.
Moving on… the subject of the next painting, Living Currencies, 2015, looks like Christine Lagarde, but this is not really all that important. It appears, at any rate, to dialogue well with another geometric abstract work titled Suite I (after Bruch), 2015.
I must say that I am simply trying to understand the situation around me in the space. And I am trying to look at this exhibition as if it were the first exhibition I had ever seen in my life and trying to think not only about the “what” and the “how” but especially about the “why”. Why a classical figurative work beside a geometric abstract painting?
As I think these thoughts about the exhibition, I ponder what I’ll find in the next room. And again I am presented with a surprise: a wonderful pink, red and grey curtain. It reminds me of the hundreds of hours spent in the theater. I must say a very good curatorial choice! And what lies in front of this curtain? A figurative work, called New Theater Backdrop I, 2015. It strikes me as fresh and elegant. It’s kind of like a Venetian looking female face behind trees.
The whole exhibition is quite homogeneous and very acute. Every painting is followed / associated with a geometric abstract work. Is Birgit Megerle – with this coupling act – perhaps trying to tell us something? The press release states, “The seven paintings presented at Galerie Emanuel Layr describe the poetics of Birgit Megerle as it converges into a new heterotopia: a going towards a painting that intimately interrogates the language of geometric abstraction, while challenging the specificity of the painted image. (…) The pictorial spaces included in the Suite series are heterotopia, in the sense that they are spaces connected to all the other spaces, although capable of suspending, neutralizing and reversing the ensemble of relationships which they themselves appear to designate or reflect.
Megerle utilizes foreshortened figurative canvases in juxtaposition with geometrical color compositions in view of a generalized specularity that mirrors itself as a scene made of “visions”. A fertile tension then arises between the portraits of more or less recognizable public figures and the vibrant, geometric order introduced by the abstract paintings. It’s an invitation to chaos, disorder, flux, organicity, the random, the void.”
Certainly one can ask oneself what links a female image to a geometric abstraction. “Concept” is not the answer. “Painting” neither. “Space” is the answer.
Birgit Megerle was born in 1975 in Geisingen, Germany. She lives and work in Berlin
Courtesy Emanuel Layr, Birgit Megerle
Press release excerpt: © Francesca Lacatena – Courtesy Emanuel Layr Gallery