pressure | imprint – Charlotte Johannesson, Ester Fleckner and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt
In the autumn exhibition, Malmö Konsthall show works by three artists from different generations, who have all employed graphic and technological printing processes within an experimental and expanded field. Using various materials, and analogue as well as digital creative processes, Charlotte Johannesson, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, and Ester Fleckner have found expressions for their own characteristic, and intensely personal, imageries.
Works by Johannesson (born in Sweden in 1943, living in Skanör), Wolf-Rehfeldt (born in Germany in 1932, living in Berlin), and Fleckner (born in Denmark in 1983, living in Berlin) are shown in three separate exhibitions with a shared title. These presentations have been compiled to emphasise their shared willingness to experiment with technique and material, their agile and informed work with ideas, which is in constant development, and the attention they’ve all paid to the political realities of their respective times.
These three parallel exhibitions give an overview of the artists’ developmental stages, and besides focusing on printed works, they also give insight into their transitions from one technique to another, and indicate the unconventional thinking that characterises their work. Series of images are shown, in which elements of textile production, digital technology, spatial installation, collage, and tiles all coexist with a shared ambition to construct new images and worlds within images.
Charlotte Johannesson was one of the first Swedish artists to experiment with digital technology and computer graphics. In 1970, she invented a method for translating textile image composition into a technological image space. She and her two collaborators Sture Johannesson and Sten Kallin had access to an Apple II, one of the first computers designed for home use. With Kallin, the Johannessons built the majority of their technology themselves, and were aided in this work through their correspondence with key individuals and companies in the nascent computer technology industry on the West coast of the USA. In the 1980s, the Johannessons ran the Digital Theatre computer studio in Malmö, which was one of the first of its kind in Europe. The collection of Charlotte Johannesson’s prints and digital graphics currently being shown at Malmö Konsthall is the largest ever. The artist’s work is also represented at the Nordic Pavilion at the 57th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia.
Ester Fleckner’s works pose questions about materials, the body, and language, often from the perspective of queer politics. The artist mainly works with wood cuts, a technique that dates back to the late 14th century in a European context. Wood cuts bear the imprint of the actual work of the hand: any error or mistake made during the production process has the potential to recur and multiply within the image. These shifts of meaning interest Fleckner, who uses them intentionally—examples of this can be found in the written comments she has made right on the surface of the images themselves. This gives Fleckner’s work a quality of the unfinished, so that it seems to still be undergoing a process in which a series of attempts or a chaotic variety of knowledge are portrayed. At Malmö Konsthall, this young artist will be showing the largest collection yet of her wood cut series, as well as sculptures and objects made from concrete.
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt was born in Germany in 1932. For most of her active working life, Wolf-Rehfeldt worked in the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany), which existed between 1949 and 1990. In 1950, she moved to what was East Berlin at the time, and from the early 1970s, she began to develop and refine her graphic imagery through an extensive body of experimental juxtapositions of image and text that she created using typewriters. Wolf-Rehfeldt, despite being subject to political restrictions such as limited opportunities for communication and travel, always had a desire to participate and work with other artists on the international scene. Her mail-art is the result of several years of correspondence with artists, mainly in Europe and South America, in which they created artworks collaboratively in their letters. This year, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt is also participating in Documenta 14 in Kassel. The works selected for the exhibition at Malmö Konsthall include several series of images, including collages and various editions.
The exhibition pressure | imprint – Charlotte Johannesson, Ester Fleckner and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt will be supported by an autumn programme of events held on Wednesday evenings at Malmö Konsthall. Follow our website, our newsletters, and our Facebook page for further information and updates.
Opening Friday September 29, 6–9 p.m.