From the Construction of Pictorial Space to the Deconstruction of the View

On the New Spatial Images of Ina Geißler | Daniel Marzona
(Translation from German by Heather Allen)

I first saw Ina Geißler’s paintings about two years ago in her beautiful studio in Prenzlauer Berg. She was working at the time on a series of pictures entitled RAUMLÖSUNG that were being discussed under the catchword „deconstruction“. This appears at first convincing, as her practice, developed mainly from her own photographs, fuses real and imagined spaces, in fact shows deconstructive traits. Strikingly, the results of this practice, in my view at least, could in no way be comprehended as deconstructivist. The mainly large-format images, as complex and in part confusing as their spatial construction might be, remained readable as a uni €ed whole; all displayed an elaborate composition and, looking at the ef fect of the image as a whole, a stringent colour scheme. Nothing disintegrates here in to disparate single elements, the pictures have nothing fragmentary about them. Looking at them does not induce a lurch but rather, as in EINSICHT 1, a smooth gliding in to overlaying perspectival constructions together with their mainly light /dark contrast-based colour spaces. In short, it appears to me that here is someone working on rearranging elements of reality,just as the Constructivists did with their allegedly purely abstract means. For, on close inspection of the best of these images, the connection to their photographic souces retreats in to the background, and a double reading between abstraction and objectivity steps in that opens up a wide field of interpretation.


The pictures of Ina Geißler demonstrate that in the combining and overlaying of different image layers not so much something new, in terms of previously unknown knowledge about the theme, but rather something completely different can emerge. They are no longer predominately based on her photographic sources, and in general their existence as painting testifies to a different self-confidence than previously. All paintings in the series FALLEN prove to be, in comparison with older works, more open to the simultaneous deployment of the most different painterly means. Whereas the colour schemes in earlier works were mostly held back, and their structures engaged a rather distorted but clear geometry, Geißler takes the freedom in her new work to combine a multitude of not always complementary colours, to juxtapose clearly defined forms against rather diffusely painted sur faces, and to so alienate her subject matter as to threaten the loss of its significance.

EINSICHT 4 is, in my opinion,the first of Ina Geißler’s pictures whose dynamic is no longer based on the principle of inter weaving abstraction and objectivity, switching between inner and outer,or between in front and behind. What opens up here in the shifts, overlays and contrasts of the for ward-and backwardmoving levels and forms could rightly be described as decontruction, however not as the deconstruction of space but rather as the deconstruction of spatial vision. This wonderful image presents us with a paradox. The illusionistic picture space gives us no clear hint that it can be read as objective in a mimetic sense. However, contemplation of the picture sur face forces us to reflect upon our perception of the (pictorial-)space, to trace the dimensions of an airless room.

FALLEN 8 also can only with the greatest ef fort be understood as an image of architectonic spaces. One could speak perhaps of a view in or on to a transparent, domed architecture that is partially prevented from going into depth by an ornamentation reminiscent of 70’s wallpaper patterns. One could certainly just as well speak of a purely abstract composition that by subtle means, for example, through the nuances of grey tones within the central circle and their overlay with blue and beige-brown colour surfaces suggestive of space, appears to be severed from every connection with what is actually seen and is only possible in and as painting.

In respect of FALLEN 6, a remarkable image in which colourful stripes describe a conical form, lay over an irregular grid structure, that is itself laid under a red-black spiral form that disappears into deep space, I can no longer ignore the strong hunch that came to me when seeing her new body of work: it must have been a delight to paint these images, to let go of sobriety, and to float freely within these pictorial worlds, such as we encounter in literature only in the work of Paul Scheerbart. In the last few years Ina Geißler has won a freedom in her painting that allows her, on the technically highest level, to play with form, colour and space, and to create spatial images that display humour and yet teach us something essential about seeing. Scheerbart`s novel Lesabendio begins, as is well known, with the words:“The sky was violet. And the stars were green. And the sun was also green „.