Sies + Höke is delighted to present Peppi Bottrop's newest paintings. Dream on will be his second solo exhibition with the gallery and is part of DC Open, the joint season opening of galleries in Düsseldorf and Cologne. A new catalogue will be published on its occasion.
TRANSIENT BECOMING Peppi Bottrop in conversation with Christian Malycha
»Dream on« … Bittersweet irony or hope after all? Dreaming is always future. Sing for the tears ...
Who is dreaming? You? Your images? We? We – of images.
Over the past 10 years, you have moved from geometric ciphers and diagrams to vegetal and topographical constellations to increasingly corporeal images. The space-forming character of your drawing expressed itself ever more strongly and clearly. How did that come about? More roads. More dreams. Many images. 10 years is a long time. My space has changed. The space of society is different and space-forming itself has to liberate itself again and again. So, the images change, too. In the beginning, simple geometric shapes opened up this space for me and now I have the language to change and use it myself.
You use charcoal, graphite, soot as well as acrylic. Broken, dry colors and strong, rich ones. Even the hues reflect this. As brittle, vulnerable and burnt as robust and deeply shimmering. As if light and dark needed each other. No becoming without transience? Maybe it’s not so much about the contrast, about opposing each other – shimmering soot or charcoal on canvas – but about the deepening of the dark and all the lights in a dream. For me, addition, the repetition of a line, plurality are also color in their tonality and shadowiness. That’s probably what you mean by brittle and vulnerable. A regime of its own. The metallic colors, especially rust, are no signs or markers of immediate temporality, that is, ephemerality, becoming. True though, that there’s no becoming without transience. Only that’s not the whole story of these images. It’s rather about the becoming of the transient. Raw material. A glitter of metal.
In your images, everything happens all at once. Ornamental rapport and geometric stance. Abundance and sparseness. Bountiful color and girded contours. Continuous flow and rupturing disturbance. Construction and severance. Do individual possibilities need their opposite to fully unfold? And again, I think it’s not about opposites. Every flow needs its disturbance, that’s the beauty of it. Simultaneity, however, is something that interests me very much. The juxtaposition and superimposition – confrontation and suspension, to the point of interruption. And at this point, hopefully, there is most fleeting simultaneity. And the Other is surely needed for all individual possibilities.
In their interplay – the mutual rising, sinking, faltering, rustling, withdrawing and opening –, the individual gestures, color strokes and parts bring forth the image, in the first place. In this processual space, your drawing vocabulary hits us and becomes tangible. We take part in the oscillating self-movement, which seemingly comes to no end. Held imperishable. We feel this fragile balance for the span of a glance ... before you wipe it out of its appearance, once more. Not bad. For the span of a glance is the fleeting. But that should be enough. Self-motion is a good word. Perhaps related to the dream. It marks a space of its own – a processual space –, in which everything is held. Simultaneously, self-motion always reveals a dash of freedom.
Emily Segal speaks of »modulation,« which gives context or temporary meaning to disconnected, meaningless actions. Does that matter to you? No, not really. Does the temporary equal the ephemeral? Can’t do that much with it, insofar as nothing about meaning is temporary for me. It only appears ephemeral. All actions mean something within their context.
Most elementary, your linear figures are akin to Stéphane Mallarmé’s »écriture corporelle«. Absolute, bare lines. Corporeal writing or physical ornament, without possessing a body of their own, though. Your lines, your strokes circumscribe themselves. That would possibly be the figurative about them? At least I know the strokes and lines do not write themselves completely by themselves. That they present themselves to you with such ease, however, pleases me. And if they dance, they are also quite figurative.
Motivally, there are still hints and fleeting appearances. Plants, blossoms, nightshades. Healing, intoxication, devastation. Then there are stars, letters, emblems, phantom-like faces, eyes. How come all these ambivalences? The floral note of the new images surprised me as well. A certain urge for physicality or organic volume. Definiteness in the contour. Perhaps again transience, disintegration. The beauty of transience. It came about quite simply. I witnessed it myself ... Nightshades are quite appropriate.
And your titles … care to explain? Nope.