Das Innere der Faust
The motifs are social constellations – not so much the people themselves, who appear in Anna Kempe‘s large-format watercolors. Constellations of friends, partnership entanglements, parent-child relationships. The melancholy that sets in as soon as one person is joined by a second or third. It is mostly moments of friendship, of conflict, of thoughtful closeness that are given space in the pictures. The view is directed to the care of people turned to each other. Clear family connections take a back seat to affinities.
With the deaths of both parents from cancer, however, Anna Kempe began a more intensive examination of her family history, a retrospective also on her own becoming as a person. How does a biography write itself? Even the key protocol data, recorded in official papers, filed, stamped, are a narrative that merely sets the framework for a person‘s history. In life, traces accumulate in the most varied forms. A body acquires scars and drags along a tail of artifacts. Picture albums condense periods of life into a few pages. How much does the voice, spoken word, have to do with memories?
-from the text by Marcel Raabe for the exhibition Das Innere der Faust
Die perfekte Zeichnung
On one of our trips to the Baltic Sea, which in my memory never took place in summer, but always at cold, wet, stormy times of the year, I made the perfect drawing. I drew with a stick in the wet sand, a figure, a dwarf, and I knew that I had never made such a good drawing before. It was not the adults‘ confirmation, but I knew myself that everything was right here, the line, the proportions, everything was perfect and at the same time I knew that this drawing would pass away, that I would not be able to keep it or keep it. This was sad, but bearable, because this moment of perfection filled me so much that it had more value than the result.
- part of the audio work Hidden Treasures of the Amber Chamber
Neid / Scham / Väter
I’m listening to the radio play adaptation of a performance. Testament – King Lear, She She Pop and their fathers. Here it comes, the envy. I know it already, it catches me when I see a woman my age on the street with a version of herself 20-30 years older. It comes as a sting, as pain, and I have to look away and stare at the same time. Want to observe, want to know everything, want to know how it feels. Am angry that this stranger has something so natural that I will never have. With the fathers I didn’t know that yet. There the closeness is not so obvious, publicly visible. But in the play, it’s there.
There, these children challenge their fathers. To get involved with them and their questions and their art. And these fathers get involved and argue and search and go into the argument. And I’m envious, jealous, but I also wonder if my father could have done that. Whether I could have. And that’s where the shame comes. And I don’t know if my father, who didn’t study and was struck with the male superficiality of this generation, if he could have gone into contact like that? Would I have dared to challenge him like that?
- part of the audiowork Hidden Treasures of the Amber Chamber
warten, gehen, bleiben
The scenes described here already hint at it: Kempe’s pictures are always about constellations of figures – even when only a single person is portrayed. Their facial expressions and gestures then always make the connection to people outside the picture, on the telephone, in their thoughts or memories, present. The focus is thus on relationships – in a double sense: not only in relation to personal relationships, but also, as it were, in view of relations of a much more general nature. For by no means does each picture represent a completely new situation and reality. Rather, all the figures seem to come from a world of their own, to form a cosmos of their own.
-from the text by Annekathrin Kohout for the exhibition warten, gehen, bleiben
Ich mag die Verschlossenheit deiner Bilder. Es ist, als hättest du um das, was dich berührt, eine Schutzschicht gelegt, eine Schutzschicht aus trockenem Aquarell. Lasierend, erklärst du an diesem Nachmittag, im Gegensatz zu deckend, und nimmst mir sanft den Pinsel aus der Hand, mit dem ich mir verzückt den Hals entlang fahre. As hard as you can, eine Angst, die ihren Platz braucht, und dennoch: die weichen Materialien, das abnehmende Licht der Tage. Gegen die Form zu arbeiten, die sich aufdrängt, ist die der Wirklichkeit wohl entsprechendste.
-from the text by Anna Kow for the exhibition COME CLOSER