Michaela Eichwald

Where it is I can’t remember, But now I can remember… now I can remember

Lyrics from “The Classical” by The Fall


Berlin-based artist Michaela Eichwald’s first solo show at Vilma Gold, “The Classical,”

takes its name from a song on The Fall’s album Hex Enduction Hour (1982).

The past is always present in her accumulations of everyday objects, which capture memories like a butterfly in a net. In this exhibition she presents layered paintings and sculptural bricolages, and like all the best things they appear grotesque but seductive. InWitness (2009) the canvas is collaged with leather then painted with quasi-expressionist spills and smears of thick oils, enamels and wood preserver, scraps of masking tape and surface scratches. It looks like an artist’s studio digested, regurgitated and reassembled into a palimpsest of abstractions, experiments and mistakes. And although the result is gross, it is also glossy and decadently attractive.


MICHAELA EICHWALD, Alchemie, 2009. Metal, eraser, gum,plaster, enamel, resin and tin, 53 x 16 x 15 cm. Courtesy Vilma Gold, London.

Eichwald’s sculptures are even more impressive: anti-monuments produced by pouring translucent resin into plastic bags and kitchen gloves filled with found objects. PSB 1978(2009) contains rubber bands and leftover bits of bacon, tomato and cheese; andAlchemie (2009) is a cast hand on a metal stand, displaying an eraser, chewed gum, enamel, plaster and tin. But there is no magical transformation here, only a sculptural collection of ephemera suspended in time like Walt Disney’s cryogenically frozen head, forever waiting. Finally, instead of a press release there’s a poster of fragmented texts compiled by the artist: a transcription of a half-remembered conversation, some Nietzsche, a passage from the poem Ludwigslied (881), and a text about forgetting and never really knowing. In this exhibition nothing is ever explained or shown clearly, and the real pleasure is concealed in the details, in the half-obscured objects and memories. To quote Eichwald’s paraphrased Nietzsche quote: “if something has entered the world, it must also be possibly dissolved.”

Flash Art 268  OCTOBER 2009