Ricarda Geib, 2008
The artwork of Monika Kropshofer is the art of a dialogue: photography and painting, precision and delimitation are interweaved in ambigious compositions, which produce a subversiveness of the real. The artist operates with the mysterious antagonism expansive colour and restrictive structure. Her aesthetical strategy targets at density, tenseness and consiseness. Sensible photographic observation and aimed colour elements are characteristics of her artistic creativeness. The conceptionally planned, but through intuitive decisions defined artwork refers to a high extent of reflection.
Photography is the initial point of her vision. With the camera Kropshofer archives, motives and structures. Pictures – motives – Kropshofer gathers during her voyages. She undertakes extensive journeys. She likes to travel. Photographing is travelling, is searching, roaming with a glance. Out of the world’s visual continuum the eye of the camera just only releases a fragment. Photography cuts a small window into our perception.
Alienated photography? Photographic transformation through painting? The artworks of Monika Kropshofer are unicum – original paintings. It is possible to paint on every background. Her basis are large printout format copies of her own photographs. Manually she applies colour, acryl, transparent in subtle glazes until the motive vanishes.
Kropshofer sensitively touches, opens, extends and injures the hermetically closed surface of the photograph with suggestive energy of pure colours. Device and medium of its expression are wide coloured paths and intersecting lines, which she applies in order to gently break up the world of her photographic substance into artful balanced compositions.
In an attitude of absolute strictness towards the medium of photography, which she confidently masters, Kropshofer works solely with natural light and refuses any manipulation of the picture: no retouching, no processing by PC. Her motives range from profane to exalted, from the simple North German brick to the colossal temple of Rom.
At the Vietnamese coast (Sequence 1) Kropshofer observes the subtle play between light and shadow, that the forms alternately become indistinct or let them emerge dark and sharp-edged. The multiple exposure submerges the coastal scenery into a mystically charged mood. In an active suspense play of the displaced rock formations blue, green and red rays of colour pass through the picture in flashes. Heavy, fiery bars of colour form a second horizon. A bright light beam penetrates the wall of colour, visionarily.
Monika Kropshofer uses colour with great experimental pleasure. She understands colour as material, as compound. Two-dimensionality tilts over into three-dimensionality, the relation between figure and basis seems leveraged. Top and bottom transform into near and far – a virtual utopian landform emerges.
With playful lightness nature and architecture are interlinked (Sequence 2). On facades modern constructions of an European metropolis Monika Kropshofer places the picture of a summerly park.
The saturated summer green, the wonderful old trees with their expansive branches, which absorb you, is deception, magical reflection on a bare facade. Here Kropshofer interferes: Sketching she covers reflecting windows with alternating red and white colour, changes the horizontal window bands in virtual blinds. Systematically Kropshofer is looking for the subversive. The broadside shows luminous green streaks, which move firmly from picture border to picture border. In a nearly surreal interactive stress field between space and area the even stripes slide behind rusty iron bars, seem, as if by magic, to loosen the heavy grating out of its amorphous bracing.
Exemplary Kropshofers artistic media and methods are intensified in Sequence 3, the virtuosity of her "language" is obvious. The subject is the historical sacral building, chief motive the column, monumental and antique sometimes fascistic. A marmoreal round temple is surrounded by spherical blue, the ground has been withdrawn, it floats in shallow coloured space. The deserted temple chambers are not comprehensible.
Attractive force and alienated impulses operate likewise. Red and blue coloured surfaces slide between high rows of columns of an antique front, extend pulsative, seem to pressure the colossal columns, to penetrate, to tumble them down, forcing a game. Monika Kropshofer’s inscrutable syntax overrules antique orderliness.
With graphic structures Monika Kropshofer plays with the facades of Hong Kong (Sequence 4) and draws from the faceless office towers moments of disturbing beauty. Precious brilliant yellow penetrates the cold blue tones of the windowpanes. Warm coloured skins surround the naked facades. Vertically flowing coloured-stripes are interweaved to rhythmic meshwork, penetrating architectural regularity, deceiving the abyss. Perspective outlines break up, or end up anarchistic within supposed logical structure. With the pulse of these stripes these pictures seem like a disruption, a rip in the world of visible material.
With isolation and enlargement Kropshofer alienates her subjects in Sequence 5. Here she develops sometimes abstract potential forms, transforms lapidary picture motives into almost surrealistic graceful fetish into secretive "objets trouvés". The enigmatic directness of her close-up views sensitises us to the materiality of objects. Bricks, sharply blazed, hardened and made weather-proof is an unimpressive but a traditions-rich building material. Over the dead-straight re-laid stones in wall structure, sharply cut, smooth coloured membranes cross each other, resulting in a dynamic play of colours and remarkable tones. The patina of the reddish stones are in contrast to the bright system of the bands of colour. They suggest an outlook, three-dimentionality, whereby the supposed rationality of geometric formation intensifies the fundamental inexplicableness of the picture.
Kropshofer relieves photography from its self-reference. Photography and painting in a dialogue? With an energized "crossover" the artist quasi back-lightens both media and benefits on an aesthetical level. The borders of reality and fiction slither away, material is mediated to immaterial.
The world – the virtuous compositions of Monika Kropshofer show us – is an enigma. Secretive and beautific.