Gwenaël Rattke has been working with collage since he was a teenager, making flyers and fanzines in the punk scene. He continues to use photocopies as raw material and emphasizes the handmade cut and paste aspect of collage. Rattke’s visual language has developed beyond punk’s graphic simplicity into a more complex and detailed aesthetic that has expanded to include historical reference.
The starting point of the work is often the past: a place, a period, a movement, popular culture in parts forgotten. Material for the pieces is garnered from a wide range of sources: vintage magazines, record covers, films, found photos or pictures Rattke has taken. Each collage has a figurative element to it, yet the recognizable gets blurred, layered, saturated and mirrored like in a kaleidoscope.
Uncovering certain historical facts about the past is not a priority. Rattke prefers to apply to the material a certain amount of subjective distortion and a hint of romanticism. A somber mood dominates the pieces in this show: cities at night, taverns, people staring, freeways, explosions, California Gothic or Cold War Berlin. Rattke hopes that within the density and the chaos of the collages, a unified image and atmosphere emerges.
Gwenaël Rattke lives and works in Berlin, Germany. This will be his first show with the gallery.