Ester Fleckner Humanizes Geometry with ‘Handmade Vulnerability’ in latest exhibit

by Kylie Obermeier

Polyhedrons—geometrical, straight-edged figures with many sides--have often between used as an analogy for the many-sided human psyche. But unlike polyhedrons, people are not perfect; our edges are uneven, our sides bleed into each other. In her latest exhibit at Berlin’s Galerie Barbara Wein, Danish artist Ester Fleckner perverts the symmetry of geometry as a reflection of human imperfection with sneaky wit and understated complexity.

Fleckner’s shapes in her woodcut series All models are wrong, some are useful and Companions 1-5 are copies of perfect models done in her imperfect human hand. The result: honeycomb pieces that don’t always fit neatly together and grid lines that waver and blur in what looks like chalk scrawls on a blackboard. Concrete figures rest on the ground next to the works in the All models series provoking more uncertainty--are the woodcuts blueprints? Are these the blackboard shapes realized in 3-d?

The ambiguity is no doubt intentional. But in an interview with Mathias Danbolt of FRANK, Fleckner explains that abstraction allows her to "to work with alternative languages and existences that relate to very concrete and real questions of the perception of bodies and difference." 

Fleckner finds specificity in abstraction and meaningful chaos in order. Triangles and squares have never been more real.

Written by Kylie Obermeier
All images courtesy the artist and Galerie Barbara Wein