In the works on display in Anna Lea Hucht’s current exhibition in the Schaperstrasse gallery – What are you doing the rest of your life? – her interest in material surfaces remains a driving force. Hucht here continues her series of still lifes, so allowing us to participate directly in the highly-charged relationship between photography and painting – since her still lifes are recognizable as paintings only on detailed inspection, so close is their similarity to the photographic originals in black-and-white. Isolated from space and time, objects thus stand in the centre of the pictorial event where, additionally staged with a realistic interplay of light and shade, they shift the focus of the visitor onto the wholly distinctive and particular aesthetics of the world of things.
Alongside her intensive ongoing concern for objects, the artist is exhibiting four watercolours, which, inspired by the same curiosity concerning structures, examine the nature and regularity of fur. The fable-like creatures, whose faces and legs are furry, find themselves positioned opposite and in rich contrast to a watercolor of a hortus conclusus, out of which a dog stares, whose skin is not worked out in detail. In the background, however, the beholder can study the jungle-like plant world of the garden. As so often in Hucht’s oeuvre, we gaze here into a fantasy realm in which the known and the unusual are combined in a wilful, idiosyncratic manner.
Anna Lea Hucht’s works on paper are outstanding, among other things, for their manifold wealth of detail. Her earlier works show above all interiors filled with numerous objects and characters, who seem as if fixed in their actions. Despite the supposedly superficial and excessive chaos, it is always the eyes of the people portrayed that are striking, often looking directly at one and forming the immediate point of reference. Also in her ceramic sculptures, which begin to form an additional facet of her work from 2007 onwards, the artist takes up the eye as a metaphorical element and highlights its relationship with the observer.
As with her watercolours so here too, Anna Lea Hucht’s working procedures are detailed and deliberate. First of all, the clay is modelled by hand, leading to the emergence of classical, but also amorphous vase forms. Owing to the sculptural treatment of the eyes, they seem like a mixture of abstracted head and vase and thus, as it were, step out of the image into three-dimensionality. In this way, they highlight a further central theme of the artist: the point of intersection between subject and object. The group of organically shaped vases too are to be seen in this context, appealing to the emotional memory of the beholder and hence allowing wholly personal viewpoints and manners of seeing.
For the current exhibition, the artist has now created a piece in which the clay returns to its two-dimensionality, taking up again the element of drawing. On twenty-five still damp wall tiles, she has incised the portrait of an old lady, who seems to float almost incorporeally in her garment. Through the conscious renunciation of a glaze, moreover, this work stresses the coloration and nature of the sheer clay, which resembles the soft surfaces of her water-colors.
Although Hucht’s works are, at first sight, disparate, points of overlap between the watercolors, the sculptures and also the wall work can again and again be found. The little milk-jug, which the artist has brought to paper with untiring, photorealist precision in a small still life, reveals in its form an unsuspected relation with the jade-colored bulbous sculptures.
translated by Richard Humphrey