London – Franz Ackermann: “9 x 9 x 9” at White Cube Through April 13th, 2014

March 19th, 2014

Franz Ackermann, Black Hand Monument (2013/14), via White Cube
Franz Ackermann, Black Hand Monument (2013/14), via White Cube

Known for his chaotic and dense compositions of color and imagery, Franz Ackermann has been depicting utopian realms that have never been and will never be approached. Glorious and pompous in his use of color, Ackermann orchestrates a wide range of materials to create what could be summarized as the heroic underlying of chaos. By combining photographic elements and schematic color arrangements as his primary tool, Ackermann presents an array of topographies of non-existing lands.

Franz Ackermann, 9X9X9 (Installation View), via White Cube
Franz Ackermann, 9 X 9 X 9 (Installation View), via White CubeFranz Ackermann’s recent exhibition, titled 9 x9 x9, at White Cube’s Bermondsey street location in London, presents a spiritual experience with the arrangement of works comparable to that of a cathedral. Ackermann’s oversized works, accordingly positioned to create the ecstasy of Renaissance-era cathedrals, evoke the same stir for gallery goers as visitors to a cathedral, gazing up at massive stained glass works. The undeniable turmoil and luster bursting from the artist’s work, as well pursue a sublime experience inside the gallery space.

Franz Ackermann, 9 X 9 X 9 (Installation View), via White Cube
Franz Ackermann, 9 X 9 X 9 (Installation View), via White Cube

Ackermann’s compositions also carry references to his personal history, reflecting his own journey as an artist as well as an individual. The artist’s approach to these ‘urban maps’ are based on subjective consciousness instead of a set of collective geographical formations, and strike a certain resemblance to the discourse of psychogeography and Guy Debord’s Map of Paris.  Similar to Debord, Ackermann also includes personal diagrams that grow out as the maps as personal stories and directions instead of basic city maps. The creation of these maps allows the artist a method for observing and interpreting buildings and architectural landmarks beyond how they are physically structured. The artist embraces daily activities such as walking and listening that also have performative connotations, rendering subject matter to transform into a two dimensional work.

Franz Ackermann, My Private Greens Leaving (2007-14), via White Cube
Franz Ackermann, My Private Greens/Leaving (2007-14), via White Cube

Blending different mediums such as photography, painting and drawing in his practice, Ackermann also challenges the notions of art making and the hierarchy among mediums. Besides extraordinarily blended materials ranging from black and white photographs to color drawings, the artist also distorts the notion of reality and the imaginary. Photographic documentations of actual urban areas are infused with Ackermann’s use of color and paint to depart from their fundamental existences. His compositions and bold orchestration of the mental and the material result in captivating and alluring works in which the artist offers his own  self as a metaphor to redefine urbanization and the inevitable alienation it brings about.

Franz Ackermann, 9 x 9 x 9 is on view at White Cube, London until April 13th, 2014

Franz Ackermann, 9X9X9 (Installation View), via White Cube
Franz Ackermann, 9 X 9 X 9 (Installation View), via White Cube

— O. C. Yerebakan

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Franz Ackermann at White Cube [White Cube]