Aja von Loeper

The structure of white

Vernissage 27. August 2020

Ausstellungsdauer 28. August to 06. October 2020

Art always has its justification. Whether it holds up a mirror to society or is a purely private expression of individual feeling: art is in itself always an expression of free, creative thinking (it is the daughter of freedom, as Schiller put it). An achievement of our modern, humanistic society that must be protected and promoted. But what makes good art, what makes an artist? This is certainly a matter of great debate. In my opinion, one of the most important aspects is authenticity. The artist who, after a long struggle with himself and the respective medium, finds the best form of expression for him is true to himself - and only to himself - and is thus able to create a coherent work and ultimately an overwhelming oeuvre. The essence of an artist is not approached with the question "Can you live from your art? More meaningful is the question: "Could you live WITHOUT your art?
Without a doubt, Aja von Loeper lives up to the criterion of authenticity. Already during her studies (1997-2002 at the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts) she went her own way.... and this led her into the forest. While fellow students tinkered with installations or edited videos, Aja von Loeper sat amidst trees. Even the medium seemed anachronistic at the time: it was paper. In art history, paper is a very intimate medium, usually the carrier of fleeting drafts, spontaneous sketches or notes not necessarily intended for the public. The immediacy of one's own handwriting, the trace that the artist leaves on the page, also characterises von Loeper's sometimes large-format sheets. Her drawing instrument is not a pencil, however, but a rounded, pencil-like piece of wood. With this, the artist works forms and structures out of the paper, always living with the danger of destroying the fragile medium. It took many years of experimentation, constant attempts and failures, but also one or two personal crises to arrive at her very own pictorial form. With her tools, the artist condenses a sculptural centre that arches powerfully out of the radiant white of the sheet. This leads to the beginning being the climax at the end. Diverse textures reflect the light and form delicate shades of chiaroscuro. The sheet becomes a relief with an almost unreal plasticity. It seems as if her works glow from within.
Aja von Loeper's works refuse to be clearly defined, like the works of Lucio Fontana, an important source of inspiration for the artist: her works are less drawing and much more gesture, perhaps even sculpture. The procedure developed by the artist should not be confused with frottage, the technique developed artistically above all in Surrealism, in which structures of the background can be transferred to the paper. Aja von Loeper is not concerned with appropriating existing forms and structures, but with sensing them. Her artistic process was a successive detachment from what she saw, ultimately ending in an almost intoxicating state of supreme concentration.
What we see before us are not images of anything. The object, the tree, nature is rather the occasion. It is about the being itself: the fragility of the medium stands metaphorically for the fragility of our own being in our world. But it is also precisely this fragility that is the origin of a very special beauty. An inexhaustible source!

Opening speech by Dr Christian Schoen

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