Paule Hammer/Kathrin Thiele: Bunny Lake is Gone
Mar 17 - Apr 21, 2007


Ritter/Zamet is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by young German artists Paule Hammer and Kathrin Thiele. The title refers to Otto Preminger’s cult-classic film Bunny Lake is Missing (1965), in which a mother relentlessly searches for her lost daughter while the child’s very existence along with the mother’s sanity are gradually eroded and thrown into doubt. Hammer and Thiele also address shifts of identity, layers of perception and loss as they question, conceal and ultimately undermine various fictions through their translation into painting. Both artists also share a penchant for the bizarre, the sinister, the spectacular and the subversive, creating mises en scène that deliberately manipulate atmospheric effects and mood through the use of staging, perspective and lighting pulled from across the history of art, photography and cinema.

Paule Hammer uses the medium of painting to confront conflicting concepts of group and self-identity, whether political, social, cultural or artistic. In his grand-scale diptych EAST WEST (2006) enclosing, bowed brick walls frame an arena marked only with signs EAST and WEST respectively. The dichotomy is clear but the message remains open-ended. Framed within this stage, the words and their multiple meanings and politically charged connotations are forced to confront each other head on. Hammer has also obsessively scrutinized his own image and identity as an artist with an ongoing series of self-portraits. In his painting Sister (2007), for example, he paints himself not only as his female alter ego but also as an homage to Frida Kahlo.   

Kathrin Thiele’s paintings are compelling amalgamations of the material and the illusory, uniting painterly virtuosity with disquietingly dreamlike subject matter. Focusing on fragmented scenes torn from 1950s and 60s movie magazines, she imports a repertoire of references and visual effects ranging from Rembrandt and Goya through German Romanticism to the films of Ingmar Bergman and contemporary Japanese horror such as Hideo Nakata’s The Ring (1998).  Across the works shown at Ritter/Zamet, Thiele leads the viewer through a sequence of mini-melodramas, each rich with narrative implication and menacing anticipation.  

Since graduating from the Academy of Visual Arts (Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst), Leipzig in 2004, Paule Hammer has shown his work regularly in galleries across Germany. In 2006 he had his first exhibition at Ritter/Zamet with his sometime collaborator, Sebastian Gögel – a project that has subsequently been developed and exhibited in galleries in Leipzig, Berlin and Los Angeles.

Kathrin Thiele recently graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig, studying painting under Professor Neo Rauch.