Exhibition text “On Stops and Continuants”
January 26 - March 2, 2019 | Galerie Jarmuschek + Partner
Likewise the pronunciation of words is an articulation of the new combinations of vowels and consonants, Majla Zeneli's presentation On Stops and Continuants consists of individual images that can be read as variables in a larger system consisting of larger, multipartite units. While repeatedly combineable with each other anew, they stimulate the viewer to question the substance and essence of an image. What makes a picture a picture? When does it become an independent, functioning unit in itself and how is it altering the next? How to define transitions and boundaries and how consistent or autonomous is a picture in its appearance, legibility and meaning for us at all? In a series of multi-layered prints, the artist plays with the concept of depth and perspective through simple geometric constellations and light-dark contrasts. Contemplatively experiencable, fine-pored color surfaces make the viewer immerse in a space of color in which diffuse lines and clear breaks appear like sky, horizons, shadows sources of light.
Whether indoor or outdoor spaces, comprehensible arrangements or surreal contradictions - the reaction always remains pure association and thought image. At the same time, these images, in their composition of recurring forms, are to be understood as arbitrary seeming, minimalist additions, which, in their mysteriousness, provoke us to search for regularities, affiliations and a presumably applied code in the seriality.
Also in the exhibition's second, figurative complex of works, for which Majla Zeneli was inspired by a publication (ed. Joe Hembus) on the film icon Humphrey Bogart, the connection and separation of individual pictorial elements is playing an important role. The black-and-white collages take up fractions of the already cut-out film stills and place them in other, mysterious contexts. While the narrative is surreally alienated and redesigned, gestures and poses, shadows and empty spaces come into focus as well as faces and hands. Gender-specific, cinematic, and medially staged role models overlap and open up a dialogue that can be re-started over and over, in which the disunity and multi-faceted nature of the portrayed becomes clear - but never the actual identity. With a special devotion to the word, the artist finds poetic titles full of allusions and a twinkle in the eye, able to enrich the artistic works with at least one additional aspect.
Since her studies in Breslau and Halle (Saale), the Berlin-based artist Majla Zeneli (*1980 in Tirana) has devoted her artistic work to the two major topics of collage and printmaking. Especially the elaborate and multi-faceted technique of mezzotint from the 17th century has been refined by the artist more and more. With its special opportunities for creating painterly quality, mood and atmosphere, this intaglio printing technique was popular in numerous genres of art history. In Majla Zeneli's work it experiences a new actuality and a most contemporary use.
MAJLA ZENELI | About the abstract artsworks
“It was the hour in which objects lose the consistency of shadow that accompanies them during the night and gradually reacquire colors, but seem to cross meanwhile an uncertain limbo, faintly touched, just breathed on by light; the hour in which one is least certain of the world's existence.”
― Italo Calvino "The Nonexistent Knight & The Cloven Viscount"
The mezzotint cycle titled "Landscapes" is a series of works started in 2010 and which is ongoing. In these works I tend towards geometric abstraction. Agilulf in "The Nonexistent Knight" by Italo Calvino, gathered tiny, fallen cones and arranged them in regular isosceles triangles and had the urge of practicing accuracy. In the same way I am trying to arrange a modest world with simple and form-reduced layers, collecting images and forms that surround me directly in a focusing lens, in the very small format of 9 x 11cm.
What inspires me is the horizon, closed space/open space, or fine cuts into matter that bring rays of light into darkness, thus focusing the retina on small details coming out of the void. Despite the strong reduction of the formal and the insistent deprivation of narrative, it is still open to the viewer to decipher part of a larger whole interior or landscape.
The colour mezzotint printed from multiple plates is a very demanding printing process.
The graphics are made by using two to five different etching inks. The layers, from the brightest tones to the darkest tones overlap. By applying this time-consuming method I try to create volume solely with colours. The prints are also provided with inner light, the source of which the viewer is unable to unriddle. The "Landscapes" cycle is, for me, a certain act of painting by the mean of a matrix.