Raphaela Vogel and Paul Sochacki at Leopold-Hoesch-Museum

Artists: Raphaela Vogel and Paul Sochacki

Exhibition title: Raphaela Vogel: Il mondo in cui vivo / Paul Sochacki: Gurbet (Grant Holders of the Peill-Stiftung 2016-2018)

Venue: Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren, Germany

Date: September 23 – November 25, 2018

Photography: Peter Hinschläger and Paul Sochacki. Courtesy of all works BQ, Berlin and Raphaela Vogel, and Exile, Wien and Paul Sochacki

A ghost with a paint palette floats through a dark image space. The shy creature draws a red brushstroke across his formless body, as if to make sure he exists. I am still here, the periodically written-off medium of painting seems to hesitantly cry from Paul Sochacki’s (born 1983 in Krakow) oil painting Das Gespenst der Freiheit (The Ghost of Freedom). Along with further paintings, whose motifs range from a lion licking ice cream to a railway floating towards heaven, it forms the artist’s exhibition in Düren named after the Turkish word for “abroad” or “foreign land.”

Paul Sochacki’s paintings leave the spectators with questions. A subtle, darkly grotesque pictorial humor characterizes the partly brittle compositions that speak of a skepticism re-garding alleged certainties. They are often populated by animal figures that could have stepped out of a children’s book. With seemingly naïve imagery, the works, in which numer-ous opposites clash, point to the fault lines and contradictions of our present, sometimes ironically, sometimes provocatively. Sochacki, who plays with social and artistic discourses in his melancholic visual inventions, repeatedly lures the viewer into the trap of their own expectations shaped by clichés.

Dizzying perspectives, rapid cuts, and intense soundscapes—Raphaela Vogel (born 1988 in Nuremberg) explores the conflict-laden relationship between body, space, and digital image technologies in expansive video installations. The artist always appears as a protagonist in her vivid scenarios shot with drones and mini-cameras, performing in the studio or wander-ing through rugged landscapes. In the video sculptures, whose cinematic elements are mesmerizing, archaic myth and pop culture, high tech and the organic collide with theatrical force. Modified everyday objects undergo symbolic transformations and form the sculptural setting of the visually stunning works. In combination with painted animal skins, they create an enigmatic artistic cosmos streaked with decay, from which a threatening atmosphere emanates.

With her intensive interrogation of the female body, space, and media, Vogel updates a tra-dition of artistic practices that is exemplified by artists such as Alina Szapocznikow or Valie Export. The works that she grouped under an Italian title in Düren radically expand the ex-pressive possibilities of sculpture and film in their experimental use of materials and tech-niques.

-Andreas Prinzing