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Alexandra Tretter’s works are painted from and of the body, without representing it directly. Rather, her compositions explore the constant transformations and shifting boundaries of the body and mind, like kaleidoscopes of anatomical cross-sections, or psychedelic Rorschach tests. The symmetry inherent to her paintings imbues them with a sense of duality and opposition: each ‘module’ holds its own energy of form, colour and texture.

The central and recurring motif in Alexandra Tretter’s paintings, which has nested itself into her work rather intuitively, is an oval in which multiple symbols such as an egg, a mouth, an eye or a vulva coalesce. Organs that are characterised by the interplay of guidelines and seclusion. In her essay ‘Modernity and the Spaces of Femininity’ (Die Räume der Weiblichkeit in der Moderne, 1988) art historian and cultural analyst of international, postcolonial feminist studies in the visual arts and visual culture, Griselda Pollock, highlights that the configuration of urban and domestic spaces that female painters in the early 20th century had, or were denied access to, produced a distinct spatial composition in the works themselves. The limitations and possibilities of femininity come to define not only the condition, but the effect. Through her paintings and her practice, Alexandra Tretter opens up a crucial space for expression and freedom: during her childhood in the former GDR and in her previous career, ‘holding still’ was imperative. As an artist, Tretter lets her forms and colours radiate off the canvas, petals unfolding into a vivacious blossom, acting crazy.

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