Artwork Detail

Untitled (yet)
German, b. 1963
Oil on canvas
105 3/4 x 212 1/4 "
University purchase with funds from the David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation, 2011
WU 2011.0001
Franz Ackermann’s signature “mental maps”—small drawings, sketches, or gouaches drafted on the go—combine signs of tourism, modernism, and globalization (an aerial tramway, a modernist housing block) with more abstract forms. Indicative of the painting overall, the mental maps convey both a visual and a conceptual impression. They point to a specific place in the world while also opening up imaginary spaces—an effect amplified by the artist’s use of glaringly intense colors. The central image of the tramway, with its fixtures stretched out like tentacles, forms the hub of a matrix of interconnectivity among the disparate elements within the same pictorial space. The painting thus presents space and place as predominantly subjective categories bound up with questions of memory and identity. At the same time it visualizes our globalized world as flattened, the result of the ways in which increased communication, travel, and migration have affected how we live and perceive today. [Permanent collection label, 2016]