Anselm Reyle. Reworking Abstraction.

Otto Freundlich 1926

Anselm Reyle 2012

Anselm Reyle is possibly one of the most influential young artists in Europe. His intelligent reworking of abstract expressionism for a modern age makes his work almost instantly recognisable in a period where otherwise more representational painting has started to dominate again. His reputation has not escaped the attention of the fashion world with Christian Dior using his vibrant abstract colours and patterns in everything from handbags to make up palettes.

Reyle is one of the few modern abstract expressionists who references the history of that field. There are strong elements reflecting his own German heritage with considerable references to the work of Otto Freundlich. One may indeed find Freundlich's direct influence in some of the colours and actual structures as is evidenced by the 2 paintings above spanning a period of 86 years. It is easier to find Noland and De Kooning references amongst the American abstract expressionists but I find a link to to early European abstraction a more solid one.

Reyle's work overall is often seen as being critical of painting with his other canvases of brightly draped foil and neon lighting. I however see his work in a wider perspective as being natural and exploratory not critical of any mediums limitations. His sculptural works to me seem canvas extensions and still concerned with the tight interplay of what a first contact may seem disconnected structures. Their is a bright electrical rhythm in Reyle's work and effusively exquisite colour relationships everywhere.

I think it interesting to include reference to an artist who is working with global brands such as Dior as it references abstraction beyond the gallery or confines of the art world and as such reflects a wider relevance for an approach many see as something confined to art history books. I personally feel that brands are extensions of abstractions and perhaps more geometrically formal like the work of Ellswoth Kelly rather than Anselm Reyle. There does however seem a psychic link between directly modern abstract art and a culture spawing video artists such as Ryan Trecartin who moves from YouTube to MoMA exactly because his anarchic character plays that mix reality TV and The Simpsons blurrs (as paint runs) any clear divisible lines between what the digital age questions as real and not real. Trecartin says his very purpose is to extinguish that boundary thus as we see with UK television we have programmes such as 'Made in Chelsea' and 'Towie' where it is largely difficult to determine what real actually is.

Of course referring back to Slyvester the point for art is about the intrinsic aesthetic of the work. To exist itself first in all of its internal fully organised (chaotic or formal) structure. The statement can then follow. Reyle is of course working in a time far different to Freundlich and his work reflects that time. It is interesting for me however to see his success emerging out of his connection to the past rather than his dismissal of it.



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