L I S A M Ü H L E I S E N
Lisa Mühleisen , Soft Flesh, 2021
wallpaint, acrylic varnish and synthetic resin on wood, framed.
105 × 85 cm
SOFT FLESH, 2021
Parrotta Contemporary Art, Galerie Burg Lede, Bonn.
April 18 – May 24, 2021 (to be confirmed)
SOFT FLESH: About Lisa Mühleisen's soft and fleshy monochromes
They flow softly over the flesh-colored planes – the light-reflecting drops of transparent synthetic resin. Again and again they glisten in the light, especially when thicker bulges have accumulated at the end of their droplet trail. In places, these trails blur into the fleshy background, leaving a hint of a trace that is only visible through a slightly darker coloring of the incarnate on the wooden panel.
Lisa Mühleisen's monochromes from the series Soft Flesh directly and immediately show what they are: ground, color surface, painting media, frame. In this reference to themselves, the focus is on their formal qualities: the unobtrusive rhythms of their all-over compositions, the color effects of the planes varying from pale pink to dark brown, the different light reflections and transparencies, the contrasts of surface textures. At the same time, however, they can also – and their respective titles give reason to do so – refer to something beyond themselves. Sometimes ambiguously sensual and Christian at the same time (Sticky Passion), sometimes emphatically feminine (She-She), the shimmering drops of synthetic resin on the acrylic lacquered, flesh-colored surfaces then become naturalistic body images.
In this way, Lisa Mühleisen's monochromes bring together what, according to monochrome logic, does not belong together: the long unchallenged understanding of painting as the illusion of looking through an open window, as lastingly shaped by Leon Battista Alberti1, and the rejection of this illusion by 20th-century abstract arti2 in order to give painting's essential and previously denied qualities back their deserved attentioni3. Mühleisen's monochromes do not take sides in this process. Especially in their two-sided nakedness, they seem all the more intimate.
Therefore, Lisa Mühleisen loves illusion in painting when it can be pure painting at the same time. According to monochrome tradition, which hates illusion in painting because it cannot be pure painting at the same time, this love is impossible. But it is precisely with her reconciliatory approach that Lisa Mühleisen allows her monochromes to be monochrome in a new way.
Nicola Höllwarth, 2021
1 Leon Battista Alberti, Das Standbild, Die Malkunst, Grundlagen der Malerei, Lat.-dt., ed. Oskar Bätschmann and Christoph Schäublin (Darmstadt: WBG, 2000) 225. For a brief and concise insight into the mimesis theory of art in German – starting from its origins with Aristotle, through Alberti's window metaphor and Hegel's doubts, to its rejection in modern art – see Stefan Majetschak, Ästhetik zur Einführung (Hamburg: Junius, 2007) 98-100.
2 Despite its unpopularity among some painters and critics, the term 'abstract' has become the most general and most common attribute for non-objective art. If abstract art has a common ground, it is surely that formal qualities possess a value that is independent of visual likeness. Ian Chilvers and John Glaves-Smith, “abstract art“, A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art, second edition (Oxford; New York: University Press, 2009).
3 For this reason, the painter Robert Ryman opposes the terms abstract, concrete, non-representational or absolute. Because everything that can be seen is real and not an illusion, he instead refers to his monochrome paintings as realism. Robert Ryman in a video excerpt of Robert Ryman: A Talk with the Artist, Hallen für Neue Kunst Schaffhausen, 1993, by Friedrich Kappeler and Marco Läuchli, Kulturstiftung des Kantons Thurgau, accessed 19 February 2021 <https://raussmueller-insights.org/robert-ryman-a-talk-with-the-artist/> especially from minute 1:07 and 3:19. See also Robert Ryman, interviewed by Robert Storr (October 17, 1986), in Abstrakte Malerei aus Amerika und Europa / Abstract Painting of America and Europe, ed. Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, exh. cat. (Vienna: Galerie nächst St. Stephan; Klagenfurt, Austria: Ritter, 1988).
MARTYRS AND BANANAS, 2020
Show with Léa Ducos, Kunstraum 34, Stuttgart.
Jun. 19 – Jul. 7, 2020
Photos: Sven Weber and Lisa Mühleisen, 2020
DRAWING WOW 2
Group show, Kunstsaele Berlin, Berlin
Aug. 5 – Aug. 22, 2020
curated by Anna Gille, Philip Loersch and Tim Plamper
Lisa Mühleisen, CONSTRUCTIVE MEMORY SHIFT, 2020
ca. 45 × 60 cm, acrylic varnish, edding, pen and toner on paper, framed