Achim Riethmann hybridAchim Riethmann hybrid
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Achim Riethmann


May 13th - June 23rd 2017
Opening reception: May 12th at 6 pm

"hYBriD" can be read as a kind of cipher, as well as the code-like titles of the works by Achim Riethmann. At the same time, the combination of upper- and lower-case characters also points to the general meaning of the word "crossing" and "mixture". Hybridity is a multi-faceted phenomenon in areas of science, economy and culture and creates new potentials in the interaction mechanisms of different elements.

By the use of various strategic means, likewise Riethmann’s delicate watercolours imply a hybrid character. The attention to detail of the motifs points to a realistic manner of representation. The medial templates from newspapers, press and magazines already convey in its sectional character the ambiguity of the depiction of "reality". This is enhanced especially by the discrepant relationship between space and surface. The  background remains empty. The fragmented bodies of the figures are existing in this empty background without a precise point of reference. Achim Riethmann himself explains about this artistic strategy: „Situations of disorder often are turning points from one status to another. I am interested in this moment of uncertainty, when things are going to be destroyed and created at the same time. My way of painting works in a similar sense, always trying to find that particular point inbetween appearing and disappearing; creating a new image from an existing one. The reduction of found images produces fragments, which in exhibitions are combined, associative, formal and narrative, to one piece or one situation."

The faces of the figures are anonymised: either by being depicted in back view, covered by a mask or a scarf or by disappearing completely and only leaving a white surface. The anonymisation causes the transfer to a universal context. The movement of the pictures comes to the fore. Without a concrete context of a situation and by the the consistent omission of figurative motifs, the figures are  stylized to a dynamic aestethic. It can be interpreted as an expression of power of the demonstrators, which in turn can be associated with the Greek level of meaning of hybris as "power". Achim Riethmann's works thus turn into a general metaphor of existing, necessary and possible demonstrations and protests and open up a space of association and reflection.

The aesthetic beauty of the dainty watercolours in gentle colourfulness at first sight evaporates in the next moment to expressive works with politically precarious subjects of today’s world. The illusory world of this „fractional reality“ becomes only visible at second glance and betrays the politicized aesthetic. The strategic hybridity of Riethmann's images connects different aspects. It can be understood as aesthetic object and as political statement. In the involvement with these divergent contexts, it is up to the recipient to find the individual truth in the aesthetic, the political or the "hYbriD" way of both of it.