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Echo from China

2006 – 2011

From her stay as “Artist in Residence” in Nanjing/South China in 2004/05 Akelei Sell brought back a series of black and white photographs. Later she created a sequence of paintings entitled“Echo from China” which are primarily an artistic visual reflection of her outer and, above all, inner experiences in “Middle Kingdom”.

The aesthetics of the subtle paintings and drawings on semi-transparent acrylic glass with its three dimensional character, emerge out of a similarity between, and an intertwining of, two painting traditions. The one, Asian, with its ability to capture a sweeping view of nature within a small image using only ink and Chinese paper, the traditional painting media of Asia, and the other derived from the longstanding minimalistic-contemplative pictorial language of the artist.

Akelei Sell, with her cycle “Echo from China”, opens before the eyes of the beholder a “cosmos en miniature”, held together by primary layers of chalk and matt painting medium, acrylic colours, pencil, black ink and graphite. These pictures recall musical scores (echoes) and as such they are not only resonant of light but also of sound. They form a unity of rest and movement, weight and weightlessness, emptiness and fullness. The paintings insinuate themselves slowly and continue to exert their influence over time.

“Echo from China” is, in this sense, a continuation of “Airmail from Shanghai” from 2000/01 – folded lengths and scrolls of translucent print film freely installed in space. The new works of Akelei Sell appear as detached sheets from this airmail.

Manfred Makra

mixed media on semitransparent acrylic glass, 49 x 34 cm

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