Berlin

Sophie von Hellermann, Urania, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 78 3⁄4 × 74 3⁄4".

Sophie von Hellermann, Urania, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 78 3⁄4 × 74 3⁄4".

Sophie von Hellermann

Wentrup

Sophie von Hellermann’s exhibition “Swirls and Circles” was like a trip to a funfair. Like the ghost house or the freak show, her large, brightly colored canvases were fictions sustained not by their credibility but, quite the opposite, by their total fancy and one’s willingness to indulge it. There were centaurs, a sleeping beauty, and women in yellow hovering around a giant eye, everything wrapped in pastel hues and fluorescent flashes. These apparitions were easy to get into and hard to hold on to.

In all the paintings, but especially in the larger, more elaborate compositions such as Urania and Timeless (all works 2019), human figures—and sometimes objects, such as a pair of glasses or a clock—are formed by the same painterly gestures as their abstract surroundings: von Hellermann’s various spirals and curves. This made for a plane of dissolved and dissolving boundaries, a spaciousness

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