woodcut on paper, 111 x 86 cm, 2017 (detail)

Ester Fleckner
All models are wrong, some are useful

Eröffnung: Freitag, 7. Juli 2017, 18–21 Uhr
Ausstellung: 8. Juli – 26. August 2017

Ester Fleckner
All models are wrong, some are useful

Opening: Friday, July 7, 2017, 6 – 9 pm
Exhibition: July 8 – August 26, 2017


For her first exhibition with Galerie Barbara Wien, Ester Fleckner presents two new series of woodcut prints and concrete sculptures. The large and unique blackboard-like prints show manifold patterns: complex and seemingly abstract, flawed geometric drawings. It is rather difficult to foresee the outcome of these unfolded forms or the type of architectures which would erect from these odd images.
On the floor, concrete figures appear, creating multiple relationships with the hanged drawings. Here it looks like we have the three-dimensional folded realisations of the unfolded polyhedron-forms drawn on the prints.
Polyhedrons are solid geometrical figures with several faces and straight edges. Used in many disciplines, mainly mathematical, they have also been used as a metaphorical tool to explain the human psyche. In the late 19th century, the American psychologist and philosopher William James first wrote of the “complexities of personality, the smouldering emotional fires, the other facets of the character-polyhedrons”. Updated by the thinker and activist Gregg Bordowitz - this conception of identity and behaviour viewed as many-sided is the inspiration for Fleckner’s latest series.
Following this geometrical anthropomorphisms, her figures look too imperfect to be straight geometry, as faulty as humans’ irregularity. Indeed, Fleckner‘s work is hand-driven, through a repetitive approach: she copied by hand perfect polyhedron models she found on the internet. As expected, it resulted in many imperfections and asymmetries.
Thus, once assembled, Fleckner’s polyhedrons appear to be a collection of bow-legged, unbalanced and crippled forms which are not able to ‘put themselves together’. Handmade vulnerability troubles the geometric logics of the structure, thus preventing an effective interlocking.
With her deficient ‘shape-sorters’, Fleckner refuses to match a normalising system of order (symmetrical norms) which disdain chaotic and other complex forms of profusion and intuition. Her undertaking unsettles the mathematical discipline which seeks to delete errors, deviances and uncertainty.

The second series brings together a collection of vertical simili-backbones as many bodies’ anatomy with febrile grid patterns. Not unlike our polyhedron puzzles, it is again difficult to imagine exactly which forms these drawings are the unfolded drafts of. This time, no plausible folded objects lie at our feet. Fleckner loses us in abstraction in a place where we have difficulty identifying, in others words: through lack of contours, norms and categories. Somehow, to recognise is to use a common set of signs, only effective if categories are clearly defined beforehand.

Thus, her crooked figures can be read as queer presences in the sense that they do not fit, they exceed categories. Interesting here, the English term ‘queer’ might finds its roots in the German term ‘quer’, meaning oblique, aslant, crosswise. Not straight, not able to unify, Fleckner’s queer forms unfold otherwise.

Fleckner’s disordered aesthetic declines seamless unity, as the non-realisation of the unfolded globes (symbol par excellence of unity) perhaps suggests.
Similarly, each of her pieces work in relation and not as autonomous units, not unlike the interconnected facets of the polyhedrons. Somehow, her drawings could be referred to as drafts or models, and therefore they exist in relation to their potential outcome. Even though she carves, prints and casts in hard materials, her pieces seems to stay in an unfinished state. We read uncertainties, contradictions, failures, intuitions, irritations: gestures which symbolically struggle against normalisation, homogeneity and rehabilitation.

Ester Fleckner’s written poetry which wanders here and there across her woodcuts also avoids easy and linear interpretation. It somehow contributes to the exploded and multi-faceted nature of her drawings. Fleckner writes and continually edits a digital document on her computer: a virtually endless collage of quotations, inspirations, epiphanies and thoughts. Then, little by little, she sprinkles and rearranges fragments of this text upon her prints, thus creating unpredictable encounters.
Here as well, repetition, mistakes and crossing-out signal her working process. Her language also declines the standard of coherence to privilege a more abstract tone. Here, one could recall this beautiful sentence from the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy: [she]“unleashes the discourse-animal [...] letting it run its course, its repetition, its chances, its improvisation.” (1)

(1) Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus (2000), New York: Fordham University Press, 2008, p. 85.

Gauthier Lesturgie

Ester Fleckner was born in Denmark in 1983. She is currently living in Berlin.
Since she graduated in 2013 from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Denmark, she has had several solo exhibitions in the Danish capital, including in Overgaden Institute of Art in 2016.
She had taken part in numerous group exhibitions such as “SEEABLE/SAYABLE” in Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway (2016), KH7 Artspace, Aarhus, Denmark (2016), “Homosexuality_ies” in Schwules Museum, Berlin, Germany (2015) and then in LWL-Museum für Kunst und Kultur, Münster, Germany (2016), National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine (2016), Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga, Latvia (2015), Dalian Art Museum, China (2014) and Malmö Konsthall, Sweden (2013).

She has been the recipient of numerous grants and prizes including work grants from The Danish Arts Foundation (2014-2017), Aage og Yelva Nimbs Fond (2016), Den Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse (2016), Art Brussels Solo Prize (2016) and Ole Haslunds Kunstnerfond (2015).