Identikit children in search of their own childhoods line the walls. Children with shit stained hands booty dance through a splin- tered landscape. A werewolf girl goes for drinks in the night. A decapitated sheep foregrounds naughty children. Spliced elements of pre- and early modernism are layered atop each other. The symbols are shaped to emanate guilt and shame. The tradition of painting is a long history of fabricated images meant to crawl under our skin, and into our psyches.
Amelie von Wulffen’s paintings follow the collage principal of appropriation. If collage is a mirror that reflects a subject or world, assembled from different view points, von Wulffen suffuses this logic with painterly traditions of still life, landscape, and self-por- traiture to conflate an abyss of collective history and personal stories into artificial, disconcerting montages of memory. Staged like isolated dolls before a portrait photographer, von Wulffen’s avatars bare the loneliness of children in old paintings and on milk cartons.
Televised warnings dramatized in the unsolved mysteries program “Aktenzeichene XY Ungelöst” leave their mark: Mushroom hunters discover corpses in Germany’s romantic forests. Forgoing nostalgia and reverence, von Wulffen densely melds childhood impressions with dismembered traces of Arnold Böcklin, Paul Cézanne, Giorgio de Chirico, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Hans von Marées, Jean-Antoine Watteau and anonymous hobbyists. Like Vladimir Nabokov’s observation in ‘Despair’ (1934) that Böcklin’s liberally reproduced landscape “Isle of the Dead”, was to be “found in every home in Berlin’, reproductions, like fear and guilt, procreate.
Formed of clay, the plight of fallen butterflies is borne by children.
AMELIE VON WULFFEN (b. Breitenbrunn, Germany,1966; lives in Berlin).
Her upcoming solo exhibition at the Pinokothek der Moderne, Munich will open in October 2015. Von Wulffen’s work has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions including: Portikus, Frankfurt (2013); Aspen Art Museum, (2012); Kunstraum Inns- bruck (2010), Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2006); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2005) and Centre Pompidou, (2005). She has participated in numerous group shows at: Liverpool Bienniale (2014); Kunstwerke, Berlin (2013); Städel Museum, Frankfurt (2012); The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2011); 3rd Berlin Biennial (2004); Manifesta (2004); 50th Venice Biennal (2003).
Her work is represented in important public collections, amongst them: Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Fonds régional d’art contemporain (FRAC) Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand Die Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin; Städel Museum, Frankfurt.