For Volta NY 2018 (booth D17) we conceived a two-artist dialogue around the human experience, though perspectives of memory and labor. Anna Bittersohl culls from an internal database of sorts for her lush scenes of figures and objects, rendered and erased by painterly layers. She was featured last year in a solo exhibition for Kunstforderverein Weinheim. Through his recent series ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, Enrico Freitag explores the promise of free market capitalism, depicting those consuming and working in pursuit of a false promise of happiness. Both artists live and work in former East Germany where to this day the famous Leipziger Schule is the dominant factor in the artistic scene of the area.
In the work of Enrico Freitag people play a leading role. He deals with the issues of the human being in relation to its working environment: feelings of alienation and fear of being absorbed by nameless masses in generic working places is the main theme in Freitag’s paintings and watercolors. In this recent series, The Pursuit of Happiness, exhibited at VOLTA NY, Freitag explores the promise of free market capitalism, depicting those consuming and working in pursuit of a false promise of happiness. The paintings reveal the struggle behind this search for prosperity, but also the mechanisms of higher powers (both political and economic) that drive the masses to this quest for presumed happiness.
In the paintings by Anna Bittersohl she mostly deals with questions of human existence and the truth, a hot topic these days. She is fascinated by the effects that result from our observations and memories. How we try to keep the memory of certain events alive; we add it to our internal database, we optimize it and try to avoid a constant loss of truth. But what happens when we look back? How much can we rely on this memory for being accurate?
Take, for example, a simple vase. You have tried to memorize it, maybe even by taking notes. This allows you to describe the vase in general terms and emphasize its essential characteristics. However, a selective mechanism starts there. What size did the vase have? Which details were important? And in what surrounding was the vase? What thoughts did you have when you looked at it? Inevitably, the transformation process begins here. It will be impossible to see the same vase in exactly the same way as you did at first. The truth of the moment lies in the past. It is inevitable.
The colors adapt to the way the brain works and the influence of applied and erased layers of paint is essential. The themes refer both to Bittershol’s personal archive of images and facts and to the process of painting itself. However, according to Bittersohl, the painting will eventually decide for itself about the truth of its own moment.
The basic idea behind her newest body of works, You grow in your garden, on display at VOLTA New York, recognizes us, the human being, as part of his individual spiritual and physical environment. We depend on a symbiotic process with our habitat if we are to evolve ourselves in our lives, meaning only if we cultivate our garden we will grow both spiritually and physically.
LOCATION: PIER 90, 12TH AVENUE (AT WEST 50TH STREET), NEW YORK, NY 10019