16th May - 15th June
Sophie von Hellermann
Vilma Gold are pleased to present a new exhibition of work by Sophie von Hellermann.
A nude stands in a 50’s interior whilst a stormy sky whirls outside. Beneath her a parquet floor has seemingly been transformed into a sea of fish bones. In the foreground stands a portrait of a woman in profile with a group of three roses laid out above. In a scene reminiscent of a De Chirico dreamscape, von Hellermann constructs a surreal landscape of uncertain borders. Painting in pigment and acrylic emulsion, von Hellemann once described her work ‘as if the canvas were carried past the actual events.’ Yet, conversely, it often appears as if the works possess the weight of premonition, foretelling narratives laced with uncertainties. Von Hellermann’s paintings draw upon current affairs as often as they borrow from the imagery of classical mythology and literature. In ‘Obama’ a mass of people watch as a newly elected president and his wife drive through the crowds in a black open top car. The evening light and flash of the car’s headlights give rise to both a heady sense of celebration and a lurking sense of danger. In ‘Evening Song’ a mystical figure stares into a blazing sun, whilst shadows dance behind. In the midst of this a plane is visible darting across the evening sky.
"To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream." In Sylvia’s Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’, Esther’s internal retort to her mother’s assertions that her madness was ‘just a bad dream’, transposes the concept of ‘reality’ into another way of looking. Von Hellerman’s painterly imaginary is laden with ambiguity and uncertainty, yet here also the gift of perception can be seen in play.
Sophie von Hellermann is currently participating in ‘The Alliance’, at Do-Art gallery, Beijing and Seoul curated by Seungduk Kim and Franck Gautherot. She will be participating in a forthcoming group show at Base-Progetti per l’Arte, Florence, curated by Franz West, and ‘Painting Now and Forever Part II’ at Greene Naftali and Matthew Marks Gallery later this year.