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PERIOD DRAMA by REBECCA ACKROYD at KESTNER GESELLSCHAFT curated by ADAM BUDAK and ALEXANDER WILMSCHEN [from 20231104 to 20230218]
[Photos: Volker Crone]
Rebecca Ackroyd’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany, Period Drama, reveals dream-like landscapes somewhere between the corporeal and the ethereal, the tactile and the intangible. Rooted in both apocalyptic fantasies and a sense of reality, Ackroyd’s new works delve into subtle examinations of human bodies, memory of the subconscious, and dimensions of sexuality in space. In her nuanced exploration of the feminine and spirituality, she intertwines elements of boldness with vulnerability and seduction with repulsion, piecing together an ongoing narrative that explores identity, mental symbols, and patterns.
Ackroyd’s practice synthesizes elements of abstraction and figuration into a coherent but enigmatic language, often materialized in complex installations and body-like sculptures made from unconventional materials like resin, wooden furniture and mechanical fragments, and plaster, as well as paintings and gouaches. In Period Drama, the artist shows alongside her monumental turbine paintings in the moment of pause and gouaches of dreaming eyes like abstract body parts alongside cast sculptures as replicas of her own body and everyday objects. Through a thematic spectrum that spans from the realistic to the surreal and from the corporeal to the ghostly, Ackroyd creates works that challenge foundational aspects of human experience—time, memory, femininity, and fertility—against the backdrop of spatial and architectural constructs.
Her focus on psychoanalysis, spirituality, and the human mind manifests as a continual excavation of personal stories and collective memory of time, engaging with what has been repressed and questioning the veracity of lost memories. Reflecting on both individual and collective memory assembled in a fragmented yet spellbinding narrative, the artist presents a new, alluring yet uncanny installation in the domed and arcaded hall that is at once fragile, incomplete, and profoundly existent. Her works coalesce in it to form an environment suspended between surreal landscapes and visceral now, a threshold where the viewer is prompted to reconsider not only femininity and corporeality, but also the human consciousness itself.
Rebecca Ackroyd, born 1987 in Cheltenham, UK, lives and works between Berlin and London. She received her Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art from the Royal Academy of Arts, London and her BA from Byam Shaw School of Art, London.
Curators: Adam Budak, Alexander Wilmschen
Learn more about Rebecca Ackroyd in the exhibition handout .
[Text: Alexander Wilmschen]
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