Elisabeth Sonneck: Ritardando - In Color

April Dell, November 26, 2020





December 9, 2020 - January 11, 2021


Rounding off the year, the Ronewa Art Projects online viewing room showcases works by Berlin-based artist Elisabeth Sonneck. Sonneck’s painting and installation practice spans infinite forms, united by her rigorous commitment to the inherent potential of her materials. 


Ritardando is a musical term meaning a gradual decrease in speed. The notion of slowing down is fitting as a broad reflection on the change of pace in many areas of life in 2020. Slowness, as it relates to Sonneck’s practice, describes her considered and meticulous processes and facilitates her exploration into the physical relations of form and color in space. Working predominantly with paint on paper, Sonneck’s work is a dialogue between the intrinsic properties of her everyday materials and situational elements of space, light, environment, and audience. Her paper installations—often standing upright in a scroll, rolled across the floor, or suspended and unfurling from a height—are a subtle manipulation of the material, guiding it into new and unique forms while allowing its weight, texture, and material tension to behave in organic ways. Far from passive, these forms are loaded with tension and energy, in a state of static dynamism—until a new context redefines them. 


On the paper and canvas surfaces, layers of paint interact and new color relations play out in a rhythmic repetition. Sonneck’s technique of broad and steady brushstrokes retain a painterly quality to her otherwise sculptural works. Just as her forms interact with their environment, so too do her color experiments. “The fundamental fact of color,” says Sonneck, is that “color can never be exactly defined, named or remembered.” Color and form and how we view them are never fixed. 


This online presentation brings together works from three series: Sonneck’s signature ‘scrollpaintings’, oil paintings on canvas, and her ‘clipage (variable)’ series that introduces concepts of original and reproduction in assembled juxtapositions of paintings and their copies. 


Elisabeth Sonneck was born in Bünde, Germany, and lives and works in Berlin. She studied sculpture and has held several art academy teaching positions and led curatorial projects that focus on color and space. Since 2006, her practice has focused on site-specific interventions with wall paintings and large-scale paper installations. Her work has been widely shown in museums, art institutions, galleries, artist-run spaces, and in public space, and is included in private and public collections worldwide (Austria, Canada, Germany, Hongkong, Italy, The Netherlands). She has held solo shows at IWE Art Museum (Kunming, CN), Fremdenhaus Anhaltische Gemäldegalerie (Dessau, DE), Kunstmuseum Ahlen (DE), Museum Gegenstandsfreier Kunst (Otterndorf, DE). Notable group shows include Prague City Gallery (CZ), Künstlerhaus Dortmund (DE), Stiftung für Konzeptuelle Kunst (Soest, DE), Kunstmuseum Gelsenkirchen (DE), Kunstmuseum Bremerhaven (DE), Austrian Museum of Papermaking Steyrermühl (AT), Boris Yeltsin Centre (Yekaterinburg, RU), New Bedford Art Museum (US), Georg Kolbe Museum (Berlin, DE), Guardini-Galerie (Berlin, DE), Vasarely Museum (Budapest, HU), Mies v.d. Rohe Haus, (Berlin, DE), Staatliches Museum Schwerin (DE), NGBK (Berlin, DE), and Sanssouci Castle (Potsdam, DE).

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