Critics’ Picks

Inga Kählke, The Void (Femme et Homme) (Woman and Man), 2007, oil on canvas, 16 x 12".


Inga Kählke

Lijnbaansgracht 316
May 30–June 27

Inga Kählke, who studied with Werner Büttner and Norbert Schwontkowski at the Hochschule für bildende Kunst in Hamburg as recently as this year, is having her first solo exhibition in Amsterdam. Her paintings consistently portray contradictory elements that are subject to the most diverse (as well as novel) methods of constructive deformation and disintegration. The content of her works is governed by a broadly conceived logic: As the viewer discerns a landscape or a group of figures, one quickly becomes lost in the interplay of independent, intentionally imbalanced parts of the painting, which all seem to wrestle with one another, and compositional tension is created. Kählke’s virtuosity mainly lies in her evenhanded use of an array of painterly means––in a single work, the paint may be applied as impasto, clumped, dried, or thin and fluid. The way she develops a specific painting is closely bound to the imagery that painting entails: In some, figures dissolve into themselves, as in The Void (Femme et Homme) (Woman and Man), 2007, or into their surroundings, as in Oase (Oasis), 2008. In Kurven (Curves), 2009, they are truncated and deformed. Buildings are rendered as if they might vanish like clouds in Papenburg, 2008. Patches of color are just patches of color in Flecken (Patches), 2008, while finely spackled, impasto fields of white and gray tones can be read as both a delicate “skin” on the painting and a snow-covered hedge in Babe, 2009. In this way, Kählke’s paintings guide the visitor’s gaze in multiple directions: One might linger on her figuration, yet those figures will subtly disintegrate to emphasize the dynamism of color, materiality, and form.

Translated from German by Jane Brodie.