Alan Cristea Gallery proudly presents a solo show of new work by Christiane Baumgartner coinciding with her major touring exhibition White Noise, hosted in significant museums throughout Europe in 2014-2015.
The artist works out of studios in the famous Leipzig Cotton Mill (Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei), which became known as a base for the New Leipzig School of artists. She has developed her practice throughout times of dramatic political and cultural changes in East Germany.
Baumgartner is known for her monumental woodcuts taken from her own video stills. She is interested in the contrast between the modern and sometimes distanced process of shooting digital video and the physicality of creating prints using ancient woodcutting techniques. She also discusses how the centuries-old, labour-intensive process of cutting a printing block from wood offers space for reflection on the fleeting moments that were captured in the original video image with such immediacy. By combining two seemingly opposing mediums, notions of time, movement and transition are embedded within the artist's conceptually rich prints.
For her third solo exhibition at the Alan Cristea Gallery, Baumgartner is presenting three new bodies of work. Totentanz, (Dance of Death) a new 15-part work printed in electric blue, depicts the smoke trails of a plane which has been shot down and is falling from the sky. Deep Water, a new diptych of the reflections in a canal, is a multi-coloured work, a move away from the artist's usual monochromatic pieces. The title references the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, which happened whilst the artist was participating in a residency in Birmingham, when she collected the footage for the piece.
Baumgartner's work often has multiple meanings and relates to war and the environment. A series of forest scenes, Wald bei Colditz (Wood near Colditz) return to the simplicity of black and white in dramatic depictions of a wooded landscape. Colditz for the British has particular connotations (the castle in the town was used as a prisoner-of-war camp which officers repeatedly escaped) which the artist is quite happy to reference;
"It has a strong relationship to World War II in Britain (also because of the movie) and in a way I don't mind the connection... I quite like that it brings this meaning to this piece of the forest... Colditz is a kind of a small triumph against the Nazis." Christiane Baumgartner