Rita Ackermann (American, also known as Hungarian, b. 1968)
Rita Ackermann is a contemporary Hungarian-born American painter, best known for her abstract, bodily works addressing issues of anthropomorphism and femininity. Frequently featuring nymph-like women and hints of fairy tales, her paintings examine adolescent ennui through a personal language of lush and gestural mark-making. Born in 1968 in Budapest, Hungary, she studied at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts and the New York Studio School. She has explained that she creates her paintings through dance: “Sometimes I like when the gestures disappear—the brushstrokes, and gestures disappear—and it’s more just a well-conducted chaos of stains,” Ackermann said.
Ackermann’s compositions occupy a space between the figurative and the abstract, where human forms simultaneously disappear and re-emerge. In a series titled Chalkboard Paintings, large-scale compositions on canvas were primed with chalkboard paint, on which washes of white chalk and green and blue pigments were applied. These Abstract Expressionist-like works are reminiscent of actual chalkboards in a classroom, covered with unintentional erasures and marks, yet they have been conceptually executed by multiple deletions of figurative drawings and landscapes. By way of these gestures, the revenant outline of the erased drawings often emerges into the foreground. The final picture is a record of these movements.
Ackermann has exhibited with Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York, and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth in Zurich, the Swiss Institute in New York, and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, among others. Popular among the fashion industry and reportedly collected by fellow artists Tracey Emin and John Currin, she has also collaborated with filmmaker Harmony Korine. Ackermann lives and works in New York, NY.