Rita Ackermann: Mama
Gianni Jetzer, Harmony Korine, Scott Griffin, Rita Ackermann
Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2021
The opposing impulses of creation and destruction mark the touchstone of the Hungarian-born, New York-based artist Rita Ackermann’s practice, which continues to evolve and manifest itself in the shift from representation to abstraction.
Ackermann’s compositions occupy a space between the figurative and the abstract, where human forms simultaneously disappear and re-emerge. In a series titled Chalkboard Paintings, large-scale compositions on canvas were primed with chalkboard paint, on which washes of white chalk and green and blue pigments were applied. These Abstract Expressionist-like works are reminiscent of actual chalkboards in a classroom, covered with unintentional erasures and marks, yet they have been conceptually executed by multiple deletions of figurative drawings and landscapes. By way of these gestures, the revenant outline of the erased drawings often emerges into the foreground. The final picture is a record of these movements.Tensions of creation and destruction in the latest paintings from Rita Ackermann, shifting between representation and abstraction. (text Hauser & Wirth)
In this publication Rita Ackermann’s vibrant, large-scale Mama paintings layer drawings with applications and scrapings of impasto and oil stick, express complex histories and emotions. The immersive nature of the Mama suite is fully illustrated and expressed, with a critical essay by Gianni Jetzer that explores and contextualizes Rita’s evolution as an artist and the significance of the Mama works, complementing filmmaker Harmony Korine’s fake interview with Ackermann and a tribute to the artist by Scott Griffin. The importance of Ackermann’s drawings in her painting practice is elucidated in a poem by the artist and seen in the book’s robust plate section, which features all of the Mama paintings made to date.