On the Exhibition TRAPPED FALLEN – London,  2008

Patrick Heide

Ina Geißler creates spaces; rather convoluted yet somehow familiar. Ina Geißler’s spatial compositions feel out the boundaries between perception and abstraction, between the second and third dimensions. Geißler’s ouevre moves between an allusion to existing spaces and their abstraction, although the tendency to become fully abstract has greatly increased in her recent paintings.

Geißler’s painting series EINSICHT gives a won- der ful insight into her realm of spaces detached from reality. It seems as if one looks at a building from above, the roof lifted off and the storeys beneath gleaming through. Stair ways, fragments of railings, flights of windows, and even materials such as wood veneers, cement or patterned cur tain fabrics emerge and disappear. Elements of a seemingly slick and futuristic architecture are counterbalanced by brushstrokes applied in thick and sometimes rapidly executed impasto. The use of egg tempera also contributes to creating that balance: Matte, muted colours, restrained in comparison to the energetic expression of the motifs. That antagonism between architectural space and sensual painting reveal the par ticular appeal of the ar tist, Ina Geißler, her paintings are essentially abstract but never theless ear thed.

Ina Geißler’s art was originally recommended by an architect, which comes as no surprise as she virtually constructs her paintings. Colour planes are placed one upon the other, all compositions evolve layer by layer. Strips of tape ser ve as framework during the creation process, they are used to confine the painted sur faces and reveal the layers beneath after they have been removed. Compositional inspiration often derives from photographic material, which Geißler digitally recomposes to produce not only collage-like sketches but also independent photo works.

In Geißler’s previous paintings it was much easier to identify where the cut-out forms of her compositions came from: series of furniture (TischStuhl/TableChair) and room interiors were then replaced by building facades of Berlin council flats featuring the characteristic balconies and awnings. In her more recent works the origins of her motifs are barely identifiable, the dynamics of the composition are taking over. Geißler’s new spatial constructions spirally suck the viewer in, overcome by a sensation of gravitation. When looking at the series after which the exhibition is titled FALLE, one seems to be disoriented within complex spatial structures. It is difficult to withdraw from that suction ef fect in Geißler’s paintings, it captures the viewer and whirls him around, he gets visually trapped.

For the first time the Berlin artist is showing a selection of her beautiful drawings and paper collages. The themes generally resemble those of the paintings, most closely in the series RICHTUNGSSCHICHTUNG. However, the works on paper are less agitated in favour of more sensitivity and warmer colours. The lines and colours explore the patterns and sur face conditions of Geißler’s spatial constructions. Some works are executed in delicate watercolours, as in her series VORFALL others are per vaded by darker, stronger lines par tly made of collaged strips of tape. Some of the works on paper retain a sketch-like character comparable to some of her photo montages, most claim to be perceived as finished compositions.

Ina Geißler’s obliterating as well as permeable superimpositions irritate and expand our visual customs. In many ways Geißler is a painter in the classic sense, her painting de fies the flood of images coming from film and net. At the same time she creates a spatial cosmos that connects her imagery to the complex structures of the city and nature, and can be read as a laconic yet paradoxical comment on our time or even a pictorial filter for the digital age.