Give Back the Kingdom
July 8–August 30, 2014
Give Back the Kingdom, the summer exhibition at Sprüth Magers Berlin, offers a survey of the multifaceted work of Anna Vogel. The artist studied at the Art Academy Düsseldorf in the master class of Andreas Gursky as well as with Thomas Ruff and Christopher Williams; she has been awarded various prizes for her œuvre, which is characterized by a rare atmospheric density and by a systematic investigation of the pictorial space of the photograph. Her mostly small-format photographs thereby distance themselves quite clearly from the sober, objective-material style that is normally associated with the Düsseldorf School.
Vogel's works function intuitively for the most part. The theme of Give Back the Kingdom – without sounding any religious or environmental overtones – has to do with the idea of a lost kingdom in a Biblical sense. The works of the exhibition focus on the nonchalance with which we treat the world, the unintended vestiges that we leave behind in it, the fleeting and superficial manner in which we perceive it. Here lifeless roadways stretch across unspecific landscapes. Rubbed-out, scratched oceans subside at the horizon. Forests can only be dimly recognized behind thick lines. In a few works, the landscapes have completely entered the realm of ornament and abstraction. In others, they take on post-apocalyptic aspects: Blood red and white clouds of fire-extinguishing sand float disquietingly in the atmosphere, as if they had been emitted not by airplanes, but by an invisible force. An aircraft carrier drifts homelessly upon the seas. At the edges of these pictures, in their instances of faint blurriness, their occasionally visible pixelation and color distortions, the noise of the atmosphere becomes clearly perceptible. The dynamic lines and scratches of the works point toward the inescapable slipping out of control to which our memory is subject in a world of constant acceleration.