Nowhere is Bell’s embracing call for a new kind of ungraspable but overpowering figurative sensuality proposed more clearly than in Abgrund (Abyss) (2008). A naked figure, painted in soft brushwork and installed under a neon light, is partly revealed by a half-drawn lace curtain. A ledge running along the bottom of the frame holds broken mirror shards and charred pieces of bone. A certain frustration hovers over the work. Abyss, Bell explains, ‘marks a point of no return… The mirror shards can be used to look into fragments of the future, whereas the past as well as memory are spread out before one’s eyes and can be looked at… The cindered bones are relics of a picnic at the roadside…The whole scenery can be veiled by the curtain.’

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