Gabriele Basch – There might be hell below

19.08 - 03.09 2023

Gabriele Basch is a painter primarily known for her paper cutouts. The uniqueness of her work lies in the fusion of cut and painting. The actual painting surface is reduced to a mesh of colored ridges. This allows the reflection of the color applied on the back to interact with the painted areas on the front, creating a zone of shadows and illusions. The integrity of the surface becomes uncertain. The beautiful appearance reveals itself as the feasible hallucination of an orderly space, and the seemingly certain boundaries prove unreliable.

In the words of the Japanese poet Issa Kobayashi: “In this world, we walk on the roof of hell, gazing at flowers.“

“Gabriele Basch has developed her own artistic process to depict something within the image that simultaneously eludes conventional imagery. These are optical sensations that expand across both surface and space, a shifting between the principles of painting and sculpture that allows glimpses and yet never fully unveils itself, especially not at first glance. These are graphic and painterly works at once, sometimes vibrant with color, other times monochromatic. Surfaces compete with linear structures, and as soon as our gaze rests on specific areas of the image, it slides away, seeking patterns that aren’t there, finding echoes of vegetation in backlight, of organic forms, of fractal shifts and mineral structures. Yet even this soon reveals itself to be an illusion, for representational elements are mostly sought in vain, even if we believe they appear in silhouette.”

The fireworks of impressions described here stem from meticulous and precise work with brush and knife. Initially, the artist paints the paper – or, for larger formats, the canvas – with informal traces and gestural color fields. Then, she begins delicately and concentratedly cutting out surfaces and voids. In this process, she emerges as a creator of non-figurative abstraction, of unconcrete-concrete tangibility, inventing her subjects themselves. In Gabriele Basch’s realm, a world beyond nature takes form in the present.
The works, when hung with a bit of space between themselves and the wall, also radiate from the back. This is due to the back also being colored broadly, illuminating the wall and allowing light effects to creep between the cutout areas, as to engage anew with the surface. Furthermore, the works possess their own distinct calligraphy, a visual script for which there is no key; the key must be sought and unlocked anew for each of us. It is the cartography of a world that self-fragmentizes into a multitude of worlds, where each fragment depends on the other yet simultaneously represents the whole.”


Excerpt from the text by Dr. Martin Oswald on the occasion of the exhibition point nemo at the Kunstverein Rosenheim 2023.
Biographical note: The author Dr. Martin Oswald is a curator, artist, author and professor for art and didactic at Pädagogische Hochschule Weingarten.

Gabriele Basch lives and works in Berlin and Hamburg, Germany. Painting studies at HdK Berlin with H.J. Diehl, 1993 master student.
Scholarship of the German Academy Villa Massimo Rome, exchange scholarship of the Berliner Senat for Istanbul, Civitella Ranieri Fellowship for Umbria, scholarship from the foundation Kunstfonds Bonn, scholarship for the artist residence Schloss Bleckede, working scholarship from the Senate for Cultural Affairs Berlin, scholarship from the Studienstiftung des  Deutschen Volkes.
Professor for Painting at HAW Hamburg since 2012

List of exhibitions (selection): Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Contemporary Art Center Vilnius, Kunstverein Pforzheim, Museum Sinclair-Haus, Altana Kulturstiftung, Osthaus Museum, Hagen, Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten Klagenfurt, MARTa Herford, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, Kunstverein Münsterland Coesfeld, Museum Bellerive Zürich, Gallery for Contemporary Art Leipzig, Herzliya Museum of Art, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden, Städtische Galerie Nordhorn, Kunstverein Ulm, Kunsthalle Emden, Kunstverein Schwäbisch Hall, Städtische Galerie Villa Streccius Landau, Berlinische Galerie.