BAKOS. Rita Ackermann

November 18, 2011 - March 18, 2012.
Rita Ackermann: Candyman I. 2010, mixed media, 160 x 206 cm. Courtesy of the artist and the Rebecca Camhi Gallery, Athens and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Rita Ackermann left Budapest nearly twenty years ago to move to New York City, where she has lived and worked ever since. Following two years of training in painting at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, she decided to leave for the United States, as she sought a more intense encounter with the various forms and cross-references of the visual arts, pointing beyond the narrow and constricted genre definition prevailing in Hungary at the time.

With a grant from the Hanes Foundation, Ackermann studied for a year at the New York Studio School of Painting, Drawing & Sculpture. Within a short span of time, her art rooted itself in the nineties' cultural milieu of New York and its emerging new tendencies. A characteristic approach to art within the enfant terrible atmosphere of the time (Larry Clark-Kids, Harmony Korine-Gummo, Sonic Youth, Karen Kilimnik, Mike Kelly-Destroy All Monsters, and the Bernadette Corporation) was a preference for mixing fashion, music and the most diverse forms of visual art, blending their languages, means and modes of expression, transgressing the traditional genre delimitations. Her early works already attested to a spirit of de/reconstruction, striving to blend the diverse media of art with an unorthodox approach to forms and systems, most often combining the construction method of collages with the free system-developing mode of drawings. These early works, primarily drawings and collages, are calligraphic and poetic pieces evocative of improvisation, which focus on questions pertaining to her own environment, as well as tackling the personal and collective problems of so-called youth culture, including issues of sexuality and drugs. Questioning positions of power, and touching upon feelings of uncertainty, they carry on a contemplative pursuit of fate.

Evolving from within, yet multidimensionally inspired and expanding, this style, built upon the ruins of self-destruction, has continued to prevail in Ackermann's opus all the way up till 2010, as can be clearly observed throughout the exhibition. Her new works from the past year, Fire by Days, a highly distilled series of pictures based on two colours and a single composition, will be presented to the public for the first time here in Budapest.

Rita Ackermann’s works have been featured at numerous solo and group shows in both the United States and Europe. In 2008 she was invited to participate in the Whitney Biennial, and in 2009 she spent several months in Marfa (Texas) within the framework of the Chinati Foundation’s artist-in-residence program. In 2010 she began editing a several hundred page monograph with Rizzoli, which appeared in September this year, and will be available for purchase at the museum on the occasion of the exhibition.

The Ludwig Museum presents Rita Ackermann’s solo show as part of its series featuring Hungarian artists and artists of Hungarian origin whose works are less known in their native country. Rita Ackermann's exhibition in Budapest is centred around her work of the last three years, including paintings, drawings, prints and videos, as well as all of the material she produced most recently during the Marfa/Chinati artist-in-residence program, which marks a milestone in the artist's career.
The exhibition is being accompanied by a series of film screenings, seeking to afford an insight into the spirit of an era that had a crucial influence on the New York-based artist’s career in the late 1980s and 90s, and that has continued to colour the development of her work today.

The exhibition is curated by Kata Oltai.

Download the exhibition brochure: BAKOS. Rita Ackermann

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