press release

Emma Talbot. Meditations
15.01.2022 - 26.03.2022

We are pleased to commence the 2022 exhibition program with the first solo exhibition by British artist Emma Talbot (*1969). A majority of the exhibited work has already been shown at Dundee Contemporary Arts in Dundee, Scottland, in 2021 and at the Centre Pasquart in Biel, Switzerland. Our presentation comprises an exceptional, three-dimensional work as well as the artist’s characteristic silk paintings, drawings and animations.

It is not only by dint of their size, significance and radiance that Two silk paintings from 2020-2021 occupy the center of the exhibition. Text segments have been integrated into the painterly operation on each of the silks. Forming the core of the texts are two of humanity’s existential questions:

“Where Do We Come From?” – „Woher kommen wir?“

“What Are We?” – „Was sind wir?“

These two questions position Emma Talbot as a creative facette of the classical, Western Enlightenment, whereas her forced answers throw a parade of complex moments of this Enlightenment’s failure. Even more crucial, though, is that the questions can be viewed as crystals that illuminate, like meteors, Talbot’s ideological and artistic cosmos. Once met with a reflexive and empathetic eye, one is quickly drawn into a fascinating vortex.

Privately mythological, visual pupations that shimmer with spirituality stand in juxtaposition to engaged statements of pressing social relevance.

Deeply rooted in the biographical accents of Talbot’s life, which she draws from like a cornucopia, this examination of contemporary challenges belongs as much to the requisites of her work as it does to the balance of our heritage from the origin of humanity.

The essential gravity of subjective thought—given sensual form through oversized silhouettes of heads that function like iconographic signets of her work—clashes with a flood of feelings and sentiments, whose reciprocal attraction triggers a vortex she seeks to capture in her art without appeasing it in the slightest. This occurs even though her ethereal, fairylike figures often overcome their pastel buoyancy to become emissaries, whose admonishments could hardly be more somber.

The exceptionally sedimented spectrum of expression corresponds to a dazzling kaleidoscope of artistic forms and mediums of expression, whereby each individual ferment has its own inner character. For example, the opulence of the silk paintings celebrated on innumerable levels finds its counterpart in the small-format drawings, whose intricate web of lines weave poetic atolls. Her sculptures evidently include not only the most diverse materials but also the most historically and geographically diffuse cultures—like, for example, the Celtic. To take part in this sweeping abundance as a viewer, one would be well advised to trace what is common to virtually every work: an exploratory journey through oneself and the world.

The artist’s solo exhibitions will be on view later this year at the Maramotti Foundation in Italy, the Whitechapel Gallery in London, UK and the Kunsthalle Gießen, Germany.