I've looked at clouds from up and down

Alexandra Leykauf
12. September 2020 — 19. December 2020
We are pleased to present new works and a site-specific intervention by Alexandra Leykauf in her second solo exhibition at our gallery. Already from outside, flaneurs walking by are reflected in the gallery’s windows which are partially reflective and semitransparent for the duration of the show. Inside, this superimposition of visible levels is continued. One’s own mirror image is combined with the inside and outside of the surrounding urban space and the gallery rooms. The works are also projected into the space in front of the gallery. The viewers move about in the rooms surrounded by portraits. Photographically processed offset prints (Gesichter, 2019–2020), a ceramic work (Fuchs, 2020) and a group of photograms (Untitled I–IV, 2020) gaze at us with a variety of expressions.

For her new series entitled Gesichter (Faces, 2019–2020), the artist purchased specific exhibition catalogues dedicated to landscape painting, removed the pages and worked on them with sand and silver gelatin emulsion that she exposed, developed and fixed. In this way, the catalogue pages become images that “return the gaze.” The viewer at first sees the portrait through the black framing. The faces become detached from the concrete landscape. In this cycle, the artist exposes landscape painting as a male domain: From a male gaze to a female perspective. Through its reproduction and framing, the painting becomes a human vis-à-vis, beyond the often very large formats of the original works. She finds the “other” in the painted landscapes: hidden faces, bodies – pareidolia. In lonesome places in nature, we sometimes encounter “faces.” Our imagination animates nature and our culture of seeing. Different realities are attributed to these perceptions. Alexandra Leykauf creates a variegated cosmos of characters and gestures in this manner. The four new photograms in extreme portrait format are direct human-size counterparts. Circles can be read as mask-like eyes. What does the depicted jalousie conceal? The photograms do not lead to the expansive landscape but show overlapping surfaces screening an interior. This invisibility, this corporeality, becomes inestimable through the few abstract signs.

The ceramic work is an imprint of the head of a fox stole. Alexandra Leykauf deconstructs a trophy, which in a certain period was given to women as a gift, by presenting the negative of the fox as an equal counterpart. Her depiction makes the fox similar to us, giving his dignity back to him. The works appear animated, in a cartoon-like fashion they often ask the viewer: “Do you see me?” How do we look at each other? What changes when we turn our gaze from the public to the private sphere? The artist invites us to adopt a different perspective that is perhaps unfamiliar to us. She creates portraits of a longingly expected visà-vis that one does not take possession of.