Unbekannte Größe

The solo exhibition Unbekannte Größe is comprised of paintings, installations and photographs from the current works by artist Oskar Rink. Growing up in her father Arno Rink’s studio, she learned the fundamentals of painting early on. Based on the artistic impulse to build and construct, she developed her own language, which is characterized by a constant alternation between the two- and the three-dimensional. By way of translating various impressions and experiences into diverse artistic media in ongoing iterations, she creates different contexts of perception. This pictorial process of cognition is vividly portrayed in the exhibition. Her works reflect this thought process, manifesting in complex superimpositions and interconnections. Thereby, a network of abstract forms evolves, creating associative relationships between the works. The result is a unique visual cosmos characterized by a sensitive balance of order and chaos.

The expansive installation Daddy dominates the exhibition space. As though through a window, the visitor peers into a perspective display case, out of which an assemblage of plastic geometric and linear elements enters the viewer’s space. Some of the abstract objects pass over the black outline of the case, which frames the composition. The viewer is met by a highly dynamic composition that directs his gaze down multiple paths at once. A similar effect is achieved in the large-format work BRÜCKE. The painting is composed of elements that seem to burst from the image before the viewer’s eye.

Rink builds her sculptural works mainly from paper but from other materials as well, such as cardboard, wood and aluminum – easily moldable materials that leave room for intuition and coincidence. In earlier works, the artist created delicate paper collages that represented surreal miniature worlds, with her painterly practice typically embodying the abstract. The latter is also subject to the building approach: A special wiping technique enables her to apply thin, translucent layers of oil paint, or to remove paint from certain areas. Fragmentary drawings appear on the colored surface. Layer upon layer, she constructs complex compositions, which vary in perception between illusionistic and abstract spaces. In her current production, she transfers the non-representational vocabulary to her three-dimensional works, too, thus positioning them as the counterpart of the painterly abstractions.

In the photo series ZERWÜRFNIS – BLAU – PLASTIK, the artist refers back to the elements of Daddy. In the juxtaposition of a nude wrapped in packaging foil and the sculptural arrangement of stylized fabric panels, the abstract form can be interpreted as a garment on the human body. The themes that determine Rink’s work become evident in this series as well. The sculptural study of drapery illustrates her experimental approach to different qualities of materiality. In the photographic reproduction, the three-dimensional constructions are subsequently reduced to two-dimensionality to reveal formal correlations in their juxtaposition.

The diversity in Oskar Rink’s work is the result of her interest in exploring different modes of representation. In line with this, she always adheres to a painterly concept. The frame – traditionally perceived as the limiting rectangle of a painting – is the leitmotif of the exhibition. In the installation Daddy, it counteracts the plastic components, thus evoking a two-dimensional representation. The work simultaneously appears as a sculptural object and a “built image.” The perception of the viewer is challenged by an interplay between bodily form and surface, between the space of the picture and that of the viewer. The notion of a piece of art as neither fully two- nor three-dimensional is reminiscent of Frank Stella, who conceived his sculptural objects to be “2.7-dimensional.” Also in the medium of photography, Rink maintains the reference to painting. Depicting multiple frames in which the sculptural drapery is installed, ZERWÜRFNIS is ultimately presented as a picture within a picture, drawing on the picturesque motif mise en abyme.

Oskar Rink (*1980 in Leipzig) holds a diploma from the École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode, Munich, and a Master’s degree from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art / Contemporary Art Department, London.