Christoph Schütte, in: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mai 2019

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Moon, Saturn and Tears

Exhibition at Oberfinanzdirektion, Frankfurt

By Christoph Schütte

Picture: Bettina Sellmann „Pretty Girl“

The strange thing is, the title of this exhibition is not at all a bad one. Even if you might be a little perplexed at first in front of these pictures, wondering what the two artists are trying to say when they title their exhibition with words as sweet and poppy as if they were from a chewing gum machine. And at the very least Bettina Sellmann’s painterly excursions occasionally almost look like this. But that is only half the truth. Not only because the positions of Bettina Sellmann and René Luckhardt, who are presenting their current works in the loose exhibition series „Gemischtes Doppels“ (Mixed Doubles) at the Oberfinanzdirektion Frankfurt, which is reserved exclusively for artist couples, are very radically different on closer inspection.

In the end, the Berlin-based artists‘ „glam magic manufactoray“ is about more than just delicious, sticky, sugary-sweet painting. This applies just as much to Bettina Sellmann’s planet series with a rich and round and yellow and strangely melancholy „Moon“ looking out into the world as it does to the works of René Luckhardt, who was born in Marburg in 1972.


Meanwhile, Bettina Sellmann, who studied under Christa Näher at the Städelschule, is a painter with heart and soul. An artist, of course, who not only draws from the world of Baroque and Rococo, but also from the world of alchemy, comics, pop and manga. And she treats all her sources equally in painterly terms.

Whether the pink „Venus“ or „Saturn“ in bright turquoise, the guileless „Little Boy Mad“ with his touchingly round, bright green manga eyes or the „Pretty Girl“ with her ondulated hair in iridescent old-age blue: Bettina Sellmann’s enchanting and whimsical figures, which are danced onto the canvas in one go, are not of this world. They materialize into strange, doll-like beings or, on the contrary, dissolve into nothing but color in this very moment. And now they gaze wide-eyed into another time, a time that has become strange and whimsical. A time and a world, however, that seems to be quite similar to our own.“

The exhibition at Oberfinanzdirektion Frankfurt, Zum Gottschalkhof 3, is on view until May 9. It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 9 am to 6 pm and Fridays from 9 am to 12 pm.