English Version - INBILDER

He who could well fly away on gloriously outspread Nike wings stands firmly on the invisible ground; the stride is taut, the body inclined and full of tension, but the head does not follow. A plumb line seems to point to an unfathomable depth. Eager to depart, he is called to a halt. Icarus knows his flight is doomed to failure. Icarus knows his flight is doomed to failure. Icarus, aware of heaviness of his limbs, is dancing. With a leap, he breaks away from the earth and lands firmly on his feet again. After a short dream, the wing has again turned into an arm and, back on the ground, he looks up assessing the reachable height – human measure.

The artist takes measure of the creatures of her imagination. Anja Verbeek’s silhouette-like figures have elongated jumper’s legs, sturdy calf muscles and springy knees, bent arms and tiny heads – isolated dabs of the brush. They stand off from the paper background, unrelated in space, freely placed with Japanese ink. The streaky horizontal arrangement of the colour intensity within the defined form appears strangely inorganic: camouflage? So strictly is the flow of colour controlled at the edges that the figures appear to be cut out of large sheets of paper dipped in grey ochre-blue clouds of colour. Looking closely, one detects the darker line of dried pigment, narrowing towards the edge – a stylistic articulation inside the figure – they have been created in one fell swoop.

The watercolours assembled her possess a spontaneous wholeness, but are, in fact, carefully arranged. Not only as regards the technique of colour production, it goes beyond that. The lightness of he arm which places the figures firmly onto the sheet, the discipline which at the right moment curbs the brush stroke, the leap, the flight, the ecstasy, come from her own body’s experience of dancing. The extreme reduction of the figure to a semi-transparent and smudgy shape is the result of a critical survey of art historical phraseology. Anja Verbeek used to dance herself, now she lets the figures dance – the figures which come to her while meditating, from memory, from mythology, from the archaic unknown, which she tries to fathom.

Elementary constellations: alongside the individual, standing, walking, running, leaning on a stick or throwing a spear, a couple in an embrace, a group of three. Should we call them Icarus and maybe think of “Jazz“ by Matisse? If you call them “Faun“ you think of Nijinsky, call them “A Couple“ and Rodin’s watercolours come to mind, “The three Graces“ and the visual memory is overwhelmed by the entire history of art. Looking at visual art at the end of the 20th century always becomes a summary of everything that has gone before and is still present. Intelligent art work is more than ever faced with the task of letting the absorbed flood of pictures surface and transforming them. In the delicate, idiosyncratic traces of colour with which Anja Verbeek adorns white sheets of paper, she combines the courage to forget great names and the determination to elevate forms from those archaic depths in which all pictures resemble each other. Each individual figure is namelessly new.

Dr. Wibke von Bonin