Heike Ruschmeyer (DE)

Heike Ruschmeyer (DE)

Galleri Heike Arndt DK once again features an “art bonbon with taint”: Heike Ruschmeyer’s artworks that will be hard to forget. Heike Ruschmeyer, who had a solo exhibition at Berliner Kunsthalle, documents crimes scenes, this time with focus on dead children. The artworks are not for sensitive souls, but are a documentation of reality sharpens our attention on the present and past and will certainly leave an indelible trace in the consciousness.

Heike Ruschmeyer can be categorized as a documentary artist whose political actions play an important role in her work. “I don’t see painting as decoration, nor as a way to portray the history”, she says. Ruschmeyer uses portraits of victims of violence and crime scene photographs as the foundations of her paintings. However, family and everyday life are also important themes. “My mother always said that I didn’t have enough fantasy, but for me the reality of life is more unbelievable than fantasies”, Ruschmeyer says. Painting as an artistic technique suits Ruschmeyer as it is a very slow working process, allowing her to gain an intimate bond and understanding with her subject. “There must be an exchange process taking place between me and the people I paint. An exchange that takes its time”, Ruschmeyer says regarding her working methods.

Heike Ruschmeyer (DE)

Artist Heike Ruschmeyer (DE) paints challenging works that can be difficult to forget.

The Berliner Kunsthalle presented a solo exhibition of Ruschmeyer’s works several years ago. These works document crime scenes and are not for the faint hearted – a documentation of our very real reality in Germany. Ruschmeyer uses photographs from the criminology and forensic medicine as templates for the depictions of suicides or victims of violence. In her paintings, Ruschmeyer tells no individual destiny, nor biography or history. It is about vulnerability and transgression into the boundaries between each other. Often the painted figures continue the protagonist’s and step out of the image. Ruschmeyer chooses to raise the victims up from the laying position of their deaths so that they appear more monumental. In their upright position, the bodies develop their own life after their brutal deaths, Ruschmeyer respectfully giving the victims the appearance of a quiet sleep without denying the reality of their dark fate.

In her work from the late seventies, Ruschmeyer moves further away from the use of photograph templates. Instead, various tactile materials such as sand, fabric scraps and paper are incorporated into the painted surfaces. The subject matter of these earlier works is largely focused on terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany, as in the painted portraits of Raspe or Ulrich Wessel. Portraits of victims of torture are also prominent during this time. Since the mid-nineties Ruschmeyer has been particularly devoted to portraits of child victims of violence. Her Lalelu series from 2006 thematically explores domestic abuse and child neglect, while a haunting series from 2009 features over 180 small scale portraits of missing children.

These works focus our attention on to the present and past. They will certainly leave unforgettable tracks with their viewers.

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