Geske Slater Johannsen & Carolin Kropff
The exhibition is accompanied by a text by Frankfurt based curator and founder of Frankfurter Kranz Dr. Sonja Müller. Scroll down.
Geske Slater Johannsen studied at Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi in Copenhagen, Denmark and Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.
She lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.
Carolin Kropff studied fine arts at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and graduated from Städelschule Frankfurt. She learned bespoke tailoring at Massschneiderei Ralf Schmidt in Wiemeringhausen, Sauerland.
She lives and works in Frankfurt am Main and Bad Vilbel.
Rhythm and Painting
By Dr. Sonja Müller
Paper works by Caroline Kropff and acrylic paintings by Geske Slater-Johannsen together in a small space. The former are small-scale, precise, and accurate, while the paintings are larger with an abstract brushstroke. "Let's dance!" is the title chosen by Geske Slater-Johannsen for this dialogical exhibition. Do the works come closer to each other? Does the rhythm leap across?
Geske Slater-Johannsen often works on a piece for years. That fascinated Carolin Kropff, as the paintings ultimately appear spontaneous and almost natural in their focus on colour and composition. Geske Slater-Johannsen wanted to showcase Carolin Kropff's new paper collages alongside her own works. Her interest revolved around the similarities, the approach to surface and abstraction. Both artists met at Carolin Kropff's exhibition in 2021 and quickly desired to further engage in exchange.
There is hardly any word found about Geske Slater-Johannsen's work, and her paintings are always untitled. Her works are restrained in colour and draw on the tradition of abstract painting. Grid-like structures covering the canvas, graphic abbreviations, and recurring colour islands that constantly regroup without ever being the same create the rhythm within the image. Forms and variations of forms, small strokes, and organic rather than geometrically ordered spots.
We also encounter rhythm and repetition in textile structures. This not only refers to fabric patterns but also to the actual nature of the canvas, woven or patchwork made up of fabric strips.
Carolin Kropff combines painting and textiles in her new works. She is a trained bespoke tailor. As an artist, she has rediscovered textiles as an artistic material. She is fascinated by the process of creating a textile work through several production stages: selecting colour and shape details, cutting patchwork pieces, and composing them together on the way to creating a new form. The collages made from paper prints, inspired by the repertoire of paper piecing, are connected into abstract form compositions. The paper pieces are sometimes precisely assembled into new compositions, while at other times, they appear accidental, resembling the paper and fabric scraps that accumulate in wild disorder on the table during patchwork or paper piecing. They possess their own inspiring aesthetics.
Variation and abstraction are the terms that most define the similarities in both artists' working methods and artworks.
"Let's dance..." The title chosen by Geske Slater-Johannsen for the exhibition also evokes other associations. Memories, the lyrics of David Bowie's song swirling through my head, the images of the show before my eyes, with shapes swinging across the surface of the canvas and through the space, colours shimmering, and (am I mistaken?) starting to move, to dance.
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues
To the song they're playin' on the radio
While color lights up your face
Sway through the crowd to an empty space
Thus, the closeness of the two artists seems to me to be more than just composition, artistic engagement with abstraction, or the choice of colour and form. It is the movement, the dance, the element of chance – the rhythm that arises through movement, the random chaotic arrangement of textile and paper remnants that continue to live on in the works of Carolin Kropff and Geske Slater... and reveal their origins only to those who look closely, close their eyes, and listen to the rhythm.
Sonja Müller, May 2023
Kindly supported by Kulturamt Frankfurt.