Monika Kropshofer: New Work

Ricarda Geib
Stuttgart, Germany, September 2017

Gently touching the hermetically sealed skin of her large scale photo prints, opening it, stretching it, and even injuring it, Monika Kropshofer turns every print into an individual work of art. Onto the photographed motif she applies broad strokes of colour and intersecting lines, which are meant to gently break up the real world as it is depicted in the photograph. Here her preference for architectural subjects and her way of abstraction merge.

In her new group of works the artist has ribbed panes of plastic glass printed on both sides, with the effect that the superimposed pictures seem to shine from inside. This shows clearly that M Kropshofer is not interested in mimesis. Being a passionate photographer, she separates certain elements, arranging them into a new composition, thus creating space for  associations, for patterns and icons of ideas. The obviously painterly attitude in these works differs from her previous work, showing a new, dynamic approach.

The twisting movement of a skyscraper photographed in Seoul is due to the double exposure and a 180 degree turn. In this way the facade is turned into a suggestively luminous  spiral. Perspective lines organize the plane and suggest rhythms of space and time, the structure of which is transformed into a lively swinging motion. This movement rises from below and upwards, spreading, and swinging around the horizontal strokes of colours. Bright shades of blue and yellow create the impression of a filigree architcture, moving from inside, as it were, an image that prefers the appearance of volatility and change to that of duration and clarity.

Untitled (Seoul, Southkorea)
Untitled Title (Seoul, Southkorea), 2016, 60 x 40 cm

In Marsala the artist discovered the facade of a winery, and, adopting the means of reflection and permeation, she turned the photographic depiction into a room mysteriously extended and full of suspense. Nerarly without any shadows or contours, the room seems floating, emptied, interlocked with the sky, but not showing any relation  - deserted, and at the same time compressed into a kind of emblematic strictness. Black and white are the poles that provide tension for the interplay of forces. In an apparently geometrically defined space control over chaos is suggested.

Untitled (Marsala, Sicily)
Untitled (Marsala, Sicily), 2016, 98 x 146 cm

Discipline or wilderness in art? It sems as if, with it explosive power, nature would take possession of one of the treasures of German classicism. Green branches find their way through the rows of columns, yellow and green stripes of paint throw their light onto the motives entangled with each other. Is nature the essence of German classicism? Or is the artist referring to a bygone and long forgotten heritage which now allows nature to expand? In fact, the motif  is the Roman House in Goethe’s park on the river Ilm. But its story remains untold. We can only speculate about the meaning of this bizarre image of a certain scene.

Untitled (Weimar, Roman House)
Untitled (Weimar, Roman House), 2017, 98 x 146 cm

In precarious balance, reflecting and transparent structures join to form a peculiarly moving construction, with geometric ciphers, and this construction seems to filter coloured light both onto the surface and in the space. In the photograph the artist focuses on the arcades of the Bauhaus library in Weimar, a brick building. Through collage and dovetailing of colours the axes of the perspective disappear, but the building is transformed into a dizzingly turbulent scenery. At the same time, the shining yellow shades of colour in the supposed centre of the building remind us of cascades falling down, and we may think of the lustful promises of LIMONA, the name of a firm producing fruit juices at the time of the German Democratic Republic.

Untitled (Weimar, Library Bauhaus-University)
Untitled (Library Bauhaus-University), 2017, 60 x 40 cm

The ionic columns repeat the movement of the camera. They become the matrix of  thepicture, and they approach the spectator with a simultaneous rhythm. Based on the Temple of Nike on the Acropolis  (and built by the czar’s daughter in 1859 to serve as a home for a reading society) the facade with its pale iridescent dusty pink colouring, seems to come forward. The succession of columns and the beams of coloured light meet in a kind of counterpoint -  duration and transience - conferring a peculiarly touching poetry to this picture, sounding like a plea for the lost preciousness of an irretrivable moment.

Untitled (Weimar, Reading Museum)
Untitled (Weimar, Reading Museum), 2017, 60 x 40 cm

Moments like these can be transferred into the sublime, and we may get an idea of this when we realize that the artist combines the prospectus of the city of Seoul with the slender shape of the bridge across the Pearl River Delta, which, like a shadow,  seems to hover over the scenery, almost vanishing like a surreal image.  Kropshofer joins motives, which influence each other, to end up in an unsolvable paradox.

Untitled (Macao and Seoul, Southkorea)
Untitled (Macao and Seoul, Southkorea, 2016, 80 x 120 cm

What Monika Kropshofer’s art aims at, becomes apparent when the sediments of what we commonly call reality begin to swing, when hitherto firm aspects dissolve, when our eyes begin to recognize places of diffusion. Her new work focusses on our capacity of visual perception. Reality is called into question. Her most recent paintings appear to be flexible and full of motion, but the movement is produced in the eye of the spectator, who will gradually be able to distinguish all these superimposed fragments and their positions between, under or on the planes of colour. The result is a complex, polyphonic kind of composition, reraching far byond our sense of sight – polyphonic painting.

More about the work of Monika Kropshofer