Galerie Fons Welters proudly presents a group exhibition with work by Kerstin Brätsch, Ryo Kinoshita, Sarah Księska, Natasja Mabesoone and Anh Trần. The exhibition brings together artists that challenge, alter, reject, and reflect upon the tradition of modernist painting. Each artist approaches painting from their own perspective and together they show the width of the medium’s possibilities. The painterly language is simultaneously challenged and confirmed. In their work abstraction and figuration, decoration and ‘high-art’, the artist as a genius (artisthood) and artisanship are no longer separated; they extend and reinforce each other. 

Kerstin Brätsch's work is 'about extending painting'. By exploring various media, she questions painting from different points of view. Brätsch examines the limits of the material in order to bring it into dialogue with contemporary painting. In the works Fossil Psychic for Christa (both 2020), Brätsch applies the 17th century Italian technique stucco marmo. Pigments are mixed with wet plaster and glue and then polished to imitate marble or other rare stones. Brätsch’s works evoke not only brush strokes, they essentially appear as fossils, storing time and history.

In his practice, Ryo Kinoshita examines the porous sculptural quality of material he paints upon, such as canvas, jute, velvet and linen. The woven structures, with gaps and overlappings, of these fabrics have informed his visual language. The sensory quality of the material plays a central role in his painting process. Kinoshita's works initially appear as decorative abstract woven or stitched patterns. However, these patterns are composed of a multitude of intertwined oil-painted figures, forms and objects. The repetition of these elements, sometimes playful, erotic or even violent, creates the rhythmic pattern characteristic of Kinoshita's work.

In her surrealist paintings, Sarah Księska likes to inhabit the blurred line between the real and unreal. The unconscious plays an important role, which results in the dream like quality of her work. The unconscious is preverbal, its language consists mainly of images; dreams create a timeless space. They not only help to understand a personal past, but also contain ideas about the future. Księska likes this superposition of two opposites. It creates a space which she tries to capture in her paintings. Księska’s process starts by drawing and combining images into collages on a tablet. She translates these images with various painting techniques on aluminium panels. 

Natasja Mabesoone’s practice strings thoughts on reproducibility and repetition together with a reflection on femininity and minor aesthetics such as decoration, craft, and materials like marker, glitter, scratch letters and templates. Mabesoone’s work deals with notions of sensuality, cuteness, language as a locus of the political and the erotic – and the social constructions they entail. Her visual language derives from board games, New Narrative and feminist writing, flirtations with kitsch and commodity aesthetics, word-play and puns. To create the subtle, drawing-like structure of her work she uses vernis mou, an etching technique in which objects like flowers, textiles or embossed paper are pressed into a soft, waxy ground before placing the plate into a mordant. This fundamental layer concedes additional imagery such as monotypes and drawings to waft on top of, through or underneath it.

Anh Trần employs painting as a medium to challenge Western ideas about abstract painting. Trần reflects on and utilises painting methodologies and materials used by abstract painters of the Western canon, to engage with the fluctuating distances between critical discourses in contemporary painting and non-Western or hybrid painting practices. Often creating large scale works, her practice draws on a painterly-language that responds to spontaneous energy and sensations. The titles, symbols, and words visible in her recent work allude to personal experiences and practice that Trần is developing while doing the residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam (NL).

About the artists:

Kerstin Brätsch (1979, Hamburg, DE) lives and works in New York (US). She studied Fine Arts at the Universität der Künste, Berlin (DE), with Prof. Lothar Baumgarten and at Columbia University, New York. In 2019 Brätsch completed the site specific installation Fossil Psychics for Christa for The Museum of Modern Art’s Terrace Café, New York. Solo exhibitions include Fondazione Memmo, Rome (IT) and Museum Brandhorst, Münich (DE). In 2017, she was awarded the second edition of the Edvard Munch Art Award. In 2019, Brätsch received the Villa Romana Residency in Florence (IT) with her collective KAYA and most recently she was awarded the Helen Frankenthaler award for painting from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York, as well as the Günther Peill Preis, Düren (both 2020). Her work will be part of the upcoming Venice Biennale curated by Cecilia Alemani. 

Ryo Kinoshita (1985, Nagasaki, JP) lives and works in Düsseldorf (DE) and studied at the University of Fine Arts (JP) and at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf with Prof. Tal R, Enrico David and Prof. Tomma Abts. He recently participated in shows at amongst others Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (DE); Kunstmuseum Solingen (DE); K21 Kunstsammlung NRW, Düsseldorf; Peggy / Strizzi, Cologne (DE); oMo artspace, Berlin (DE). His work is included in the collections of AKZO Nobel Art Foundation (NL) and ING Art Collection (NL).

Sarah Księska (1992, DE) lives and works in Vienna (AT) and was resident at De Ateliers, Amsterdam (NL). She studied Fine Arts at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg (DE), the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main (DE). Her work has been exhibited at Galerie Tobias Naehring, Leipzig (DE); Piktogram Gallery, Warsaw (PL); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam; Exile Gallery, Vienna, ffffriedrich, Frankfurt am Main among others. She is currently working on her solo debut show in New York. Księska’s work has been collected by the National Museum, Gdansk (PL); ING Art Collection (NL); ABN AMRO Art Collection (NL); AMC Art Collection (NL).

Natasja Mabesoone (1988, Knokke, BE) lives and works in Brussels and Ghent (BE). She studied Visual Arts at the School Of Arts, Ghent and took part in the WIELS Residency in 2019. Her work was exhibited amongst others at S.M.A.K., Gent; Island, Brussel; Gallery Sofie Van de Velde, Antwerp (BE); 019, Ghent; Rivoli, Brussels; Barbé-Urbain Gallery, Ghent; DMW Gallery, Antwerp; MDT, Stockholm (SE); Intimnoemesto, St. Petersburg (RU).

Anh Trần (1989, Bến Tre, VN) is an artist who lives and works between Auckland (NZ) and Amsterdam (NL), and is currently a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Trần received her Master of Fine Arts with first-class honours from Elam School of Fine Arts, the University of Auckland in 2016. She has exhibited at Artspace Aotearoa; Window gallery; St Paul gallery, Auckland and play_station gallery, Wellington (NZ).