Monica Poalas

Caterina Albert´s way of painting

(Foreword for the book published on occasion of the exhibition  A child in hiding)

With their demand for new paintings, the fathers of abstract Expressionism – as for example Barnett Newman in 1948 in his famous essay ‘The Sublime is Now’ – voiced a deliberate wish not to be classified within the tradition of European art history; they wanted, rather, to demonstrate a new form of pictorial language, one without a cultural background. To date, non-figurative art occupies the position of primacy in the Avantgarde, and stands as up-to-date, ‘modern’, guiding, directional. A few, individual, highly successful contemporary artists have refused to submit to it, and are viewed as famous exceptions; Gerhard Richter or Lucian Freud are just two among them.

The contemporary painter Caterina Albert works in an awareness of the great traditions of European Art – there is accordance, yet in the same breath, opposition – knowing the fissures, flaws and conflicts that characterize the present. It is the ambivalence in the way her picture cycles are constructed that determines the suspense, the intensity, and the often bewildering radiance they emanate.

In addition, there is a vigorous enjoyment of painting, delight in colour, the sensual bodily presence of her figures, the dramatic structure of the paintings, which evoke fantasies and dreams, the masterful command of colour, form and light. Therein lies a particular quality, which is not only artistic but also intellectual, contentual, and iconographic.

Caterina Albert’s roots within the categories of figurative painting are only of a foreground nature. Her paintings are exemplary in that figurative painting can be contemporary in the best sense: the focus is our own time, and with it, there is attentive discourse. Thus she is shown to be preparing the way for the possibilities of an exciting further development of figurative painting in our times.

Monica Poalas studied art history, theatrical studies, and gained her doctorate in modern history. Over a period of 15 years, she built up the collection of international contemporary art of the European Patent Office in Munich, the Hague, Berlin and Vienna, and has been responsible for numerous exhibitions of contemporary art. She lives and works today in Munich, as an independent author and curator.

Translation: Jill Pittinger