Ways of Seeing Abstraction:
Franziska Furter, Draft IX/V, 2010

Most people still understand abstraction as a concentration on form. It is viewed as an art movement which is used to express aesthetic ideas, orders, philosophical ideas or inner feelings, but which does not have much to do with everyday reality. However, especially in times marked by crises, relevance and urgency are also expected from art, and it is expected to make a statement on current social issues. Today, artistic commitment is not conveyed exclusively through clear visual messages and content, but increasingly through abstraction. For younger generations, in particular, non-representational art is the means of choice for addressing politics, religion, and social issues. Showcasing works from the Deutsche Bank Collection, the exhibition “Ways of Seeing Abstraction” at the PalaisPopulaire undertakes a thoroughly subjective survey of international abstraction from postwar modernism to the recent present, documenting the diversity and discursivity that lie behind the idea of non-objective, “pure” form. On the occasion of the exhibition, our series will show you works by artists who use abstraction idiosyncratically and define it in new ways.

Franziska Furter, Draft IX/V, 2010
© Franziska Furter and Galerie Lullin + Ferrari

The ink and pencil drawings of Franziska Furter look like "poetic neuron thunderstorms"—black-and-white landscapes, explosions, and celestial bodies that are abstract yet full of open meanings. The constellations in the drawings of her Draft series could be the amplitudes of a seismograph, mountains, or simply graphite dust trickling down a wall. Furter's drawings are in a kind of intermediate state, as if they wanted to depict something—a feeling, an image, a thought—but as though it were not yet clear what. "Although these pictures look like black-and-white photographs, they do not exist in reality. They are images of an invented world—simply another reality," says the artist in reference to her work, which she has expanded in recent years to include sculptures and installations.

In the early 2010s, Furter's drawings took on a dimension inspired by mysticism, science fiction, and fantasy. The basis for this was Japanese manga, which she photocopied, enlarged, cut out, recombined, and redrew—repeating these steps several times in a lengthy working process. The Draft drawings, however, were created directly on paper, following small sketches. Here, too, Furter's interest lies in the process of graphic translation, which allows form, meaning, and composition to change into a new state with each step.