Rayk Goetze: Über Mütter      
6 April—11 May 2019       

Über Mothers /About Mothers*
It is the ultimate in painting, executed with oil and acrylic on canvas. And their raison d’etre? Making concepts conceivable and finding visual equivalents for them. To do so, Rayk Goetze creates contrived worlds, vibrant and with extraordinary freedom of form, with odd figurative constellations and irregular spaces. As a sovereign ruler between heaven and hell, Goetze creates his own protagonists and asserts their existence: they are freely translated modern Madonna figures, inserted into a bizarre Elysium.

»Diptych I« depicts Maria between worldly saints in the tradition of the sacra conversazione; she wears a halo of pink spheres, has a deep décolleté and, like a midwife, holds a motionless child—identifiable as the Child Jesus by the branding on his rear—upside-down by his feet, while waiting for a sign with unsettling indifference.

No less provocative is the Madonna wearing Sistine blue and red in »Marieenstudio« [Maria Studio]. Outsized, carnal, sensual, ethereal and totally blonde, she poses on a set. Almost casually, she holds a child in one hand and outsized scissors in the other. »Terrible, terrible« comments the choir here. In »Wucht« [Power], another Madonna sits under a shower of gold while a lute is played in the background. With silent sincerity and in stilettos, she is winding up to deliver a punishing blow—however, instead of the boy, she holds just a paper depiction on her knee; a boy’s torso with red buttocks.

Goetze’s Madonnas are rooted in the modern tradition of the »Züchtigende Jungfrau« [Chastising Virgin] by Max Ernst [1926], Paul Gaugin’s »La orana Maria – Je vous salue Marie« [Hail Mary] [1895], Otto Müller’s »Zigeuner-Madonna« [Gypsy Madonna] [1926] and others that question the sacred in their own way, while retuning this instrument and using it with different anticipation. The yearning for this is tangible, and thus in Rayk Goetze’s art, these attempts are not tantamount to crushing the gods, but a break from conventional iconography with brave and confident characters who believe it will be successful.

Goetze’s über-mother Marias are self-confident and worldly wise. The modern Marias are devoted to an ego that borrows camp and exaggerated attributes, highlighting the almost vulgarly eccentric aspects of motherhood. In their expression, they are reminiscent of Arthur Rimbaud, Georges Bataille or the anatomical arbitrariness of Hans Bellmer. With technologically heightened gestures and stylised bodies, Goetze’s Maria figures also resemble female cyborgs, like the animes for »Ghost in the Shell« created by Masanori Ota. Some even more heightened examples could even be construed as fembots.

The conceptual collages of episodic and erratic additive image sequences are barely coherent. They evade interpretation and profane causal explanations. It is left up to the viewers’ vision and cognition to find the links between the hidden contexts. The major sub-narrative is about trust, solace, power and superiority. The significance of actions is attributed to the sign, and the knowledge of finitude and eternity is evident. The fabulous acts of creation on canvas are connected in their recurring style, and evince the vitality of this art.
—By Tina Simon     /Translated by Brendan Bleheen
Dr. phil. Tina Simon 
Author and publicist, Leipzig 

* Using the German prefix »über-« for the title of his new show, Rayk Goetze claims a productive ambiguity towards a critical tradition of fashioning motherhood. In a linguistic play, he indicates a thematic concern [»about«] while at the same time claiming the possibility of re-shuffling the semantics of a weighty history of evoked »over-hood«. 
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