Ralf Kerbach. Paintings and Drawings
28th November 2015 to 13th February 2016
Opening: Friday, 27th November 2015, 6-9 p. m.
World Indoor (Weltinnenraum) was the name of Ralf Kerbachs big solo exhibition, at the Municipal Gallery in Florence of the Elbe this spring, which had its emphasis on paintings from the 80s and 90s. Dragon Pattern is how he named his selection of current works, which are showcasing at gallery Poll. Both titles reflect on his path of life between East and West and mark social changes at the same time.
Dragon Pattern indicates a Meissen porcelain-decor. It reminds the artist of his home, origin, escape, being on the road and the destruction of living space. All these topics and motives embossed the works on display.
Wheel (Rad), originated in 2009, shows a man, who carries two plump sacks. An old woman is waving goodbye and even the cat has to stay behind. The wire wheel of a hay cart floats above the scene. Through this painting, the painter, who abandoned the GDR in 1982, alludes to his personal story, but also refers to those refugees, who are making their way to Europe at the moment. Pictures such as Fire Extinguisher (Löscher) or The Burning House (Das brennende Haus), both originated in 2008, portray figures in typical Kerbach style, who are trying to extinguish their burning houses. Sometimes the building is tiny compared to the figure, other times it towers above the fire extinguisher.
Ralf Kerbachs newest paintings from 2015 show the bright moon shining in the sky. It’s night time. Street (Straße) grants a look into an alley, filled with unusual figures, such as a stilt, and a horse in the foreground. It seems bizarre, however one still feels a certain familiarity with the figures. Spook (Spuk) shows a row of people dressed up in a carinevalesque manner. Inspired by a theatre group, whose members simulate Augustus II the Strong and other historical figures of the Elbe at night, they appear eerie and remind of Ensors mask-like beings. Both paintings replace the painters preferred grey and brown color palette with high-contrast, luminous blue-, violet-, green- and yellow colors. The paint application, usually opaque and pastose, is transparent in both pictures and executed through subtle brush strokes.
Besides the large-sized canvas works, gallery Poll is also showcasing small oil sketches and drawings: self-portraits, portrait studies of his wife, interiors with cats, kitchen still lifes or scenes from the night-train, that Ralf Kerbach regularly takes to commute between the Art Academy of Florence of the Elbe, where he teaches painting and graphic, and his house in Biesenthal near Berlin. These works are presented at Petersburg Hanging and his studio at the Dresden College, which is steeped in tradition. This way pieces from his work environment are shown at the gallery.
Ralf Kerbach, born in Florence of the Elbe in 1956, studied at the College of Visual Arts from 1977 to 1979, under the supervision of professor Gerhard Kettner, until he was forced to remove from the register of students. In 1982 he resettled to West Berlin. He received a stipend in Olevano in 1986/87 and spent some time in Paris a year later. Up until 1990, he lived and worked in Dio-et-Valquières, near Montpellier. In 1991 he travelled to the German-Brazilian summer academy in João Pessoa/Paraíba, Brazil, as an awardee. Since 1992, he has been working as a professor for painting and graphic at the College of Visual Arts in Florence of the Elbe. Ralf Kerbach lives and works in Biesenthal near Berlin and in Florence of the Elbe. Some of his works are located in renowned private and public collections, such as in the Berlinische Galerie, the National Picture Collection of Florence of the Elbe and the Museum of Visual Arts in Leipzig.