Selected works by Franz Ackermann

Franz Ackermann
Mental Map: Evasion V

1996

Acylic on Canvas

275 x 305cm
In Mental Map: Evasion V, Ackermann creates a biotic abstraction, a template for natural phenomena dictated by design. His jumbled composition is harmonious in its turmoil: concentric patterns of colour expose hints of identifiable place (a street map, a building interior, a snippet of landscape) only to dislocate them in a maze of organic generalisations.

Constructed graphics are corroded, integrated as if by evolution, to incorporate somatic qualities: sublime contemplation is achieved only through artificial enhancement.
Franz Ackermann
Mental Map: Evasion VI

1996

Acylic on Canvas

195 x 210cm
Evasion VI is less a representation of a specific place than an eruption of global confusion. Wild blasts of colour rip tangled organic masses apart. Amid the wreckage are tiny vignettes of landscape displaced from their natural setting. Ackermann’s painting has an undertone of catastrophe: desert sunsets, rocky coves, and industrial parks clash together like tectonic plates in an ethical snafu. Through his unbridled abstraction, Ackermann strives to chart out the physical impossibility of conceptual space. Evasion VI reconstructs our chaotic perception of the world as an apocalyptic image-byte.
Franz Ackermann
New Building

1999

Oil on Canvas

260 x 200cm
Ackermann paints New Building as a package holiday resort spiralling out of control. Destination: doesn’t matter. This exact development could be found anywhere. His warped perspective and candy-coloured banners compose an off-kilter composition, both unsettling and jubilant.

A triumph of marketing over nature, his hard-edged abstraction springs like Poseidon’s gift from the sea: the new universal symbol for ‘beach’.
Franz Ackermann
The Secret Tunnel

1999

Oil on Canvas

260 x 200cm
Ackermann’s cityscape is information overload: a seething metropolis striated in Technicolor glory. Grey modernist architecture looms at an unnatural angle, engulfed in retro-style smog, while an inverted stairway to heaven descends into the open earth below. Ackermann paints his underworld as a spacey utopia: fiery blobs of magma swell with hypnotic seduction, revealing a virgin landscape at their core. The Secret Tunnel
is not a paradise, but an upper and middle earth equally and oppositely attractive.
Franz Ackermann
Zooropa

2001

Oil on Canvas

200 x 250cm
Ackermann is a perpetual tourist: his paintings are like large trippy postcards from the edge. Dealing with globalisation and the commodification of cultural landscape, his work is representative of an ever-shrinking world.
Referring to his images as ‘mental maps’, Ackermann readily digests the subtle nuances of popular destinations
and regurgitates them as international signifiers: brightly coloured shapes, high-impact graphics, and pop iconography.
Franz Ackermann
Helicopter XVI (on the balcony)

2001

Oil on Canvas

287 x 278cm
In Helicopter, Ackermann presents a gyrating distortion. Glimpsed from above, his ‘map’ is more graphic than topographical: any sense of real space has been compressed to the flatness of a logo. Among the steely refined greys of a mountainside reclusion are the stripy steppes of a vineyard and a plastic sunset. It’s only the ‘flat-pack’ patio furniture that suggests a luxury villa and not just the abstraction of affluence.

Articles

Don't Call Me a City


'Mental Maps' are what Franz Ackermann calls his drawings, psychocartographies he made of his travels around the world. Ackermann's cities are images of a globalized landscape in which the conflict between the centre and periphery is drawing closer. Harald Fricke has visited the Berlin-based painter.

It took a long time. By now, there are countless chronologies recording Alexander von Humboldt's expeditions as the economic and industrial development of the world steadily progressed. But can this 'tour d'horizon' through time be drawn, as well? Cities with magical names such as Singapore, Bangkok, or Ulan Bator once seemed so far away - how can we represent the changes they underwent throughout the urbanization process? And the South American jungles, the African steppe - can we still conjure an image of the fascination they once held, now that they've long since turned into telegenic survival-show playgrounds for unbridled celebrities on cable TV? Franz Ackermann, the Berlin painter and draftsman, is one artist who set off on endless trips around the globe prior to the onslaught of the adventure trend. Big-city chaos and the boondocks - the cartographic works he created throughout his travels now hang in international museums and collections, including that of the Deutsche Bank.

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Source: deutsche-bank-kunst.com


Franz Ackermann

Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 20 July - 23 October, 2005

In response to a world that is, for some, more intricately connected than ever, reticular metaphors prevail in contemporary art. Yet the complexities of this world - its financial markets, information and transportation networks, social relations, and so on - exceed figuration and its shifting spaces are opaque to conventional means of representation. In such a situation it is claimed that mapping is no longer a matter of describing the surface of the globe but of reconstructing a scene that has been lived through. This means that cartography comes back down to earth, so to speak. That sovereign power which once surveyed the world from on high, dividing out space, giving measure to it, and more often than not asserting proprietorial and territorial rights over it, is unsustainable: its panoptic eye sees from nowhere, which is, of course, impossible, and the knowledge which it claims of the world is detached, reductive, a fiction. Even if it were possible to occupy this elevated surveying position for a moment, one could hardly breath in its rarefied air. The cartographer who comes back to street level, where the air is, for the most part, breathable, immerses him- or herself in specific situations, the topography and horizons of which are set by social conditions to which we are all subjected, not least those of memory and architecture. It is these conditioned and situated experiences that might now provide material for maps.

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Source: recirca.com