stuttgart

Christa Näher

Galerie Der Stadt

This selection of 15 large-scale paintings by Christa Näher constituted the most difficult and also the most interesting portion of her oeuvre. These works, dating from 1984 to 1990, chiefly diptychs and triptychs, depict intensely dramatic scenes, somewhat resembling baroque and mannerist pictures of catastrophes. These scenes take place in darkness, at an immeasurable depth that is no longer illuminated by a neutral, reasonable light. In this terrifying darkness, only individual subjects, glowing wanly, emerge from an optical opacity—ghostly or blasphemous motifs that are penetratingly suggestive: phantom horses seen sharply from below, fleshless skulls of steers on stakes forming another Golgotha, conflagrations blurring into an indefinite distance and further darkening the murkiness.

In their long-impossible rhetoric of grand emotions, terror, and decline, such paintings, as merely

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