Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines and a palette reduced to black, white, and grey form the basis of Esther Stocker’s grid structures. No matter whether she creates (wall) paintings, objects, room-spanning installations, photographs, or videos, the artist is always interested in breaking up the laws of Euclidian space and the patterns of perception involved.
The artist playfully inflects the basic components of her art in numerous variants, constantly opening up new, sensuously perceptible geometries. Set in contrast to the historical architecture of the Metternich Palace, Stocker’s translation of complex scientific content into an artistic aestheticism has a particularly powerful impact.
Review published on 14 April 2016 in the art magazine PARNASS by editor-in-chief Dr Silvie Aigner. Translation into English by Marcello Farabegoli Projects.
In a show entitled ‘Geometries’, Esther Stocker is presenting site-specific works in the Italian embassy at Metternich Palace on Rennweg in Vienna. The felicitous compilation, which fascinates above all by the contrast between the reduced aestheticism of Stocker’s works and the embassy’s magnificent, spacious rooms, has been curated by Marcello Farabegoli. This is the sixth exhibition of contemporary art on display at the Italian embassy in Vienna. And, as the ambassador said in his opening speech, it is a task performed with great pleasure. With its sculptures and staterooms, the Metternich Palace is an ideal place in which to relate history to a present-day context, and it also offers an opportunity to exhibit overdimensioned works. ‘Our experience of the past two years has shown us that it is indeed possible to harmonize the classical style of the palace with modern works of art.’
Both paintings and most recent objects by the artist, who was born in Schlanders in South Tyrol in 1974, are on view. Her works, in which she directly responds to the location, have come to occupy antique pieces of furniture that now function as pedestals for Stocker’s paper objects. In the Green Room, she has staged an impressive environment – including settees that are part of a floor installation. In the Battle Room and in the Yellow Room, huge canvases have been installed that take on the character of objects through the form in which they are presented. Stocker’s new large-scale sculptures especially conceived for the Banquet Hall are particularly imposing. Stocker’s works are pure abstractions at which she arrives by employing minimalistic means: horizontals, verticals, and diagonals, with her palette reduced to the colours of black and white and various shades of grey. Stocker is interested in complex visual patterns based on a grid and on shifts within systems. If we perceive right angels and parallel structures as rational and orderly, Esther Stocker’s ‘displacements, which she evokes by introducing disturbing moments, convey that the allegedly safe fundament of order actually proves highly certain. The exhibition illustrates once again that Stocker has a liking for working at the borderline between painting, space, and objects and for continuously distorting familiar perspectives. However, for the artist grids are not synonymous with inflexibility and rigidness, but rather a motif of release and dislimitation, as Rainer Fuchs once observed about Stocker’s work. Stocker has thus created spatial images for the palace with her installations by overriding the historical architecture and undermining its well-ordered and regular structures.