Elke Denda

Johnen + Schöttle

We should not be misled by the lively, cheerful appearance of Elke Denda’s work. Though she likes Mondrian, Matisse, and Sigmar Polke, she has also been decisively influenced by her teacher at the Düsseldorf academy, Fritz Schwegler, whose work has been summed up by Luk Lambrecht as “an intimate work that looks like a strangely plastic reflection of a diary.” The basic features of Denda’s oeuvre are personal signs; simple colors and patterns; schematized observations of nature; stylized, minimalist painting; and observations of the past as well as the world of childhood. Most of these characteristics can be found in her recurring motif of the toadstool. She has said, “The fungus motif touches the heart of my work: it is naive and beautiful, it evokes associations with our childhood, but its tempting appearance is at the same time very treacherous and dangerous [to life].”

There were three

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.