Klever Str. 3, 13357 Berlin
Bleach on denim
Text Exhibition “Material Occupation”, University Art Museum, University at Albany, 2012
German artist Anja Schwörer’s psychedelic canvases radiate abstract patterns that draw upon her strong interest in alchemy and heavy metal music. Using substrates of denim, velvet, and black canvas, she employs a reductive process of waxing, folding, and bleaching to create strong light and dark contrasts that are both expressive and raw, optically intense and formally elegant in their invocation of a beautiful cosmos gone awry.
Forgoing traditional painting materials, she introduces a handmade element into her work that makes her cosmic fields seem earthbound. Schwörer’s symmetrical, formalist, geometric compositions are made by batiking, bleaching, and tiedyeing, processes that merge chance with highly considered compositional restraint. Her use of bleach serves as part of an ongoing experiment with the alchemical properties of an everyday solvent. Bleach can puddle and pull color from cloth in unexpected patterns and residual drips, but in the end it always conforms to the woven materiality of the fabric as resonant forms emerge from what has been deleted or pulled away. Morphed and manipulated, Schwörer’s “paintings” (because in the end, that is what they are) take on a quality of hallucinated space that stems from her affinity for “hippie-thinking.” Her use of black resonates with associations to absence, a void, darkness, the occult, the total absorption of all light rays.
Like other artists in Material Occupation, Schwörer’s interest in applying alternative techniques and unconventional materials is a means by which to distance the hand from traditional painting methods, all the while acknowledging the potency of abstract painting and its ongoing hold on the contemporary imagination.
Corinna Ripps Schaming
Homepage Anja Schwörer