Benjamin Appel: Keller mit Garten

18 September – 23 October 2021


The space that human creates is the rectangle, as is the captured moment in photography, and the canvas also exhibits this typically angular shape. The rectangle is omnipresent in the human world, and likewise it forms a central point of departure in Benjamin Appel’s work.

Rectangles pile up on his canvases, and there is no limit to their colorfulness. In Appel’s works there is nothing suggestive, nothing representational. The blue surface remains a blue surface and not an image of it. The structure is also really the material, which builds up in lines, waves, edges and surfaces on the canvas, superimposed and set apart from each other, becoming an object in its own right. Text and painting here form equal components without being related to each other or depicting each other.
Thus, the wallpaper depicting a beach shot is, in the end, also just a wallpaper: two-dimensional and flat on the wall. The repetition of the motif here transcends the illusion and signals that it is an illustration. Appel’s rectangular object, on the other hand, feels like the accessible surface of a special room from his living world. Disruptive elements such as furniture are cut out.

Benjamin Appel explores how far he can go in order not to depict anything representational. At the same time, he tries to make as few aesthetic decisions as possible. The wallpaper goes on the wall, because this is its conventional handling, and the object is made of drywall, because this is also the material of the room in which it stands.
It’s a reduction to the bare essentials, where all the individual fragments become part of a comprehensive installation.
[Laura Gerstmann, 2021]

Benjamin Appel, born 1978 in Augsburg, lives and works in Leipzig. From 2003 to 2010, he studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe with Gerd van Dülmen, Thomas Zipp and Daniel Roth. He received, among others, the 2018 working scholarship of the Stiftung Kunstfonds, Bonn, the 2012 Förderpreis awarded by Forumkunst Karlsruhe, the 2009 Hector Förderpreis of the Kunsthalle Mannheim and was a prizewinner of the Akademie Karlsruhe. Benjamin Appel’s work has been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Chile (2019), Guangdong Museum of Art, China (2018), and Galerie der Stadt Sindelfingen (2017).