Ralph Fleck

Slaughterhouse 23 / IX, 1982

About the object

Ralf Fleck's expressive mode of painting invariably starts out by apprehending elements of the world surrounding him. This mode is characterised by the gestural style of the brushstroke in which figuration recedes into the background; the undiluted oil paint itself comes to the fore in its materiality and tonality. Thus, it is only when this cycle of four paintings is viewed from a distance that the motif congeals into recognisable form as flesh and bone, a slaughterhouse no less.
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Ralph Fleck allows all manner of everyday things to provide the impetus for his paintings which veritably ‘take place’ most forcefully on the raw canvas. In the process, the formal depiction of the motifs retreats into the background while the concentrated presence of the undiluted oil paint quickly coalesces, in expressive characteristic style, into a subjective approach to the objects themselves. On discovering the Freiburg abattoir in the 1980s, he photographed numerous visual impressions, which gave rise to an extensive series of abattoir paintings. The fact that the artist is primarily concerned with painting and its material essence in these powerful, immensely vibrant compositions, comes to the fore in the balancing act between the huge brush strokes: the implementation of this weighty art-historical still life can be described as a “(butcher’s) panoply of colour” which doesn’t aim at an elevation of the thematic content of the "nature morte" per se, but instead accentuates the pure sensuality of colour. (Author: Margarita Jonietz, Translation: Timothy Connell)

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