Exhibitions

Elemente
Margaret Raspé

Throughout her five-decade career, Margaret Raspé returned persistently to essential questions surrounding her own existence and that of the world around her. Such reflection pointed her towards a deep awareness of interconnectivity, which she aimed to convey through her work. Her installations, performances, photographs, paintings, and drawings function as vehicles to move the viewer towards such a consciousness, which melded the spiritual and political in a simple call to pay attention.

Exhibition Elemente
Artists Margaret Raspé
Date February 9 – April 13, 2024
Venue Galerie Molitor, Berlin

Conceived in close collaboration with the artist before her recent death at the age of 90, Elemente is Raspé’s first solo gallery exhibition in Germany, following her highly-lauded and long-overdue retrospective at the Haus am Waldsee and Badischer Kunstverein last year. Elemente refers, on the one hand, to the four classical elements of the universe, which were touchstones for Raspé, as well as the elements that recur throughout her own practice—wool, water, ultramarine blue, Maria as a symbol and a word, overtone chanting, the horizon. Raspé animates associations between these materials and ideas, forming a syntax that is reconfigured with every work and renders each radically mutable and contingent.

In Elemente, Raspé’s prescient ecological consciousness comes to the fore, particularly in her emphasis on polluted water as both a call to action and a symbol for the grave consequences of disregarding humanity’s interconnectedness with the environment. In her text Water is No Longer Water, which accompanied her 1990 performance in which she waded into the ink-black Bzura River in Łódź, Poland, Raspé wrote: “today we refer to the present — the past is stored in our genes — the future depends on decisions — which we make from our limited knowledge of this present, based on change that can only be imagined, which belongs to the vision of an open consciousness. We must take action from a place of unrepressed consciousness to form future realities.” Such was the mentality that motivated her work, as she challenged linearity to think cyclically and across systems: her installations, performances or photographs like dispatches of this consciousness she was bent on raising. While the activism undergirding the performance in Łódź, as well as the wool installation in the Enza River in Reggio Emilia, Italy that preceded it in 1989, is more explicit, Raspé’s reflection on water as a medium to broach interdependence and connectivity also extended to her more abstract installations, drawings and photographic works exhibited here.

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