Exhibition

Katharina Wulff
Wanwizzi

Greene Naftali, New York

Press Release

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Katharina Wulff, Installation view (detail), Wanwizzi, Greene Naftali, New York, 2010

Greene Naftali is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Berlin-born, Marrakech-based painter Katharina Wulff. This will be the artist’s second solo show in New York. Wulff has been exhibiting in Europe for the past ten years and the current exhibition serves as a sequel to a show presented last spring at Galerie Daniel Buchholz in Cologne.

Wanwizzi—an archaic high-German word denoting a kind of hysteric whimsy, brings together a selection of portraits and landscapes resulting from Wulff’s meticulously slow and additive working process. Loosely threaded from a vast, personal collection of references that range from symbolist painting, golden-age portrayals of glamour, and the artist’s everyday surroundings of the Moroccan landscape, the works are pervaded by a sense of luxe, calme and volupté.

Wulff’s dreamlike depictions bear influence from a metaphysically inclined, classically informed visual language developed by such painters as Rousseau, Klossowski, Degas and Poussin, carried forward by Wulff’s contemporaries Elizabeth Peyton, Karen Kilimnik and Kai Althoff. Despite the presence of narrative elements, her paintings insist less on narrativity than on opening up waywardly esoteric spaces—highly complex, beguiling tableaux woven from personal experience, references to contemporary visual culture and oblique symbolism. Following a dreamlike logic, the illusory surfaces of Wulff’s phantasmagorias are often disrupted by physiological irregularities and formal disjunctions which call both to the materiality of her paintings and the deeply imaginative spaces she accesses in her work.

In addition to the paintings is a gallery of Wulff’s delicate and highly intricate drawings. These works on paper at times serve as studies for the paintings, and explore her deeply fantastical subjects. Also for this exhibition, the artist’s marked penchant for décor and sumptuous atmospheres is extended to the physical gallery space in the form of a scented Mosharabieh cedar lattice panel and doorway—a transformative space suggesting uprooted orientalism and a befittingly dramatic adornment for Wulff’s enchantingly paranormal works.

For the first installment of the exhibition in Cologne entitled, Allô allô mein Hitlir, you na3se?, the following text, written by the artist, accompanied the show:

Hello hello my Hitlir, are you sleeping? I’m coming with the boat in 30 minutes.

A very sweet man gave me a stamp to get in. Isn't that good, old potatoe?

Hhhhhh lol, I love it!

Darling - you're my apricot, my chocolate, my strawberry, my little bunny.

Hi Danger, I’m out of here. What's with Mr. Electric?

Will you come in 300 hours?

Come on, switch on the light or are you a ghost?

She’s a dirty woman and she’s bad too.

A farm egg, a donkey mare.

When she was still married, she would often give me money.

She has three children, they’re being cared for in a house in Germany.

I told you before, it's all mighty strong here, the good and the bad alike.

No, no way I'm going into the house of a woman who practices magic.

I feel quite jittery, all hot inside. The others aren't well either. It's all her doing!

It all comes from her. I was in her house this morning… I don't know, what has she done?

I don't want you to turn it into a soft cheese!

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