Berthold Pott Gallery, Cologne, 2014
When Ralf Dereich describes the process of approaching a new series of works, he often employs linguistic terms: He talks about working in his own language and about discovering new vocabulary that he adopts and repeats until it is available to him. Likewise, he reasons the formal reduction in his art with the goal to express himself as direct as possible. These parallels to philology are, however, not only to be found in Dereich's subjective reflections on his own artistic practice, but also in the aesthetic of his new series of paintings. Similar to a piece of paper that is to be written on, Dereich's paintings begin at the top left corner of the canvas. From there, a strong blue colour defines each work with different and abstract forms: sometimes they appear statically or arranged, while other times they seem smooth and spontaneous. In spite of these movements, they never exceed the entire picture or completely disengage themselves from their starting position. In the play of reenacting new beginnings, the works' compositions loose their importance and are instead replaced by an inherent structure. Each canvas is primed with acrylic binder and a much smaller amount of the same blue pigment. Just as the formations of the blue paint, the ground coats' intensity and flow change slightly from painting to painting. While only these discreet variations distinguish the works from one another, the dialectic between their own open- and closeness is thereby repeatedly reflected in a subtle rupture of serial linearity. As opposed to their reduced forms, Dereich's works continuously suggest organic outlines. Everything is developed in a process of experimenting with a new vocabulary and in pondering on his own sensation. Dereich tests the confrontation of certain and uncertain structures: Some decisions originate from sensitivity and intuition, others are subject to an acquired schema. In this balance, between the defined and the undefined, Ralf Dereich's visual grammar begins. (Anna-Lena Werner)