Evi Vingerling’s senses are always on the alert: when she takes a walk through the park; when she sees a soft shade of orange glowing through the windows of a dark building in the blue light of early morning; when, in a foreign city, she is surprised by light shining beneath trees and the black sky that defines their silhouette; when she observes the shadows of alpine formations from the window of an airplane; when she sees reality distorted in the ripples and dazzling light of water in motion. It is often the combinations of various colors that move her. All of those wonders of observation are brought back to her studio. The work of Evi Vingerling arises from the desire to share those everyday experiences of beauty with the world.
“When I was in my early twenties,” Vingerling explains in a letter, “I had a head of golden blond curls that danced about. I felt cheerfully obliged to share those curls, since they weren’t just mine but the world’s. To tie them up seemed a shame, also for the people around me.” The history of aesthetics – from Aristotle to Rancière – is steeped in the notion that the individual and the universal converge in art. In the ‘golden’ story of the dancing curls, the young woman coincides with what she feels and sees. The glory of that experience is distinguished by an awareness that she is indeed an individual, but that every individual is part of the same world: essentially we are all bits of the here and now. For Evi Vingerling that awareness is an invitation to portray, directly, her own individual experiences. Her work has developed via unconventional motifs, not based on theories but found in the immediacy of life. Feelings of happiness may well be a mainspring, and openness a gift.
A new aspect of the works in Self – Contemporary is that they have come about ‘directly’ on the canvas. In the past she would keep notes about ‘a particular experience’, or she would use photographs and drawings of what she saw. In her recent work these drawings once again serve as a point of departure – sometimes in combination, too, with various moments of experience – but they do so in a less literal sense; and she makes the decisions demanded by a work throughout the process of paint-ing. Vingerling relies on her intuition and, in that way, feels an affinity with the early American modernists, but also with an artist such as Ad Reinhardt. Self – Contemporary is a festive exhibition, capricious, colorful and optimistic. The work of Evi Vingerling attests to a belief in the liveliness of the reality that surrounds us. Her inspiration comes from what she observes around her, but also from poetry and literary or theoretical texts of others. While working on her solo show, a statement by Susan Sontag, from an interview in Rolling Stone, frequently came to mind: “The greatest effort is to be really where you are, contemporary with yourself, in your life, giving full attention to the world. That’s what a writer does. I’m against the solipsistic idea that you find it all in your head. You don’t.” The title of the exhibition has been derived from this quote.