American pink, amethyst purple, citric yellow

Slecht's affinity with graphic design is patent, as much as Pop artists liked advertisement and longed

for the immediacy of its language. The filiation is assumed, in colour and tone. Each of her

compositions is a theatre where acid colours run an antagonistic show, only paused to admit angular

cutouts, found pictures or computer-generated images. “How it ends” (2011) shows for instance a

fire, cut in a carnivorous mouth, sinking its blaze orange teeth despite a backdrop of algae green, into

the monochrome square of a birch forest. 

 

Her pieces impress by their visual presence. It is an achievement which cannot be underestimated in

our picture-saturated culture. Even her three-dimensional works exult a pictorial essence, their

physicality being overwhelmed by the retinal images they radiate. The parasol head of “mountains

#2” (2012) rests half spread, its circumference on the floor. The narrow plastic strips hanging from it,

together with the hollows created by its ribs, confirm the shape of a rocky peak. Yet the most striking

element is the fluffy gradient of its strips, bubble gum pink bleaching during the ascent into snowy

white. 

 

Palm leaves, perfect droplets, synthetic landscapes 

In her early works, Slecht’s raw material, besides colour, was Internet’s banal imagery. Turning to

images of kittens, bosoms and sunsets, she dismissed taste as a relevant criteria, by folding in her

works common examples of aesthetic pleasure. This appropriation, like any other, was ambivalent.

Did Slecht abhor or adhere to her material? The question fails to grasp a practice which accepts this

visual production as a potential culture, and celebrates this potential for its energy. The seduction of

Slecht's work lies there, in the interstice between innocence and irony, where it works at its best. 

 

Mountains, the awe-inspiring archetype of the Sublime, are a leitmotiv in her oeuvre. These majestic

landscapes get squashed into computer-generated fractal imagery (“mountains #3”, 2013) or cut into

corsets for artificially generous breasts (“mountains #1”, 2011). Flatness relieved Warhol and

Lichtenstein, among others, from the solemnity of high art. Their flatness was visual, literal, a racy "it

is what it is". If Slecht also embraces flatness in her works, she adopts a different tautology: it is not

what it is not. The factitious is her flat fact. The effect is as delectable — meaning is combusted in an

ephemera, the Real seized in a laughter. 

 

Facticity, plasticity, potentiality 

Her most recent works seem left intentionally unfinished. In “mountains #4” (2013), a painting,

covered hastily on one side with almond white and the other with amaranth purple, features a

central, uncoated stride revealing the underlying plywood plank. In another work (yet to be named), a

series of colourful paintings is arranged in a corner, starting from the floor, covering the walls,

occluding each others, as if this was a temporary storage solution, in situ, before the final installation.

 

These recent works attest to a natural development in her practice. Investigating thoroughly the

factitious will bring you eventually to its birthplace, art itself. Slecht faces this reflective moment

elegantly, by withholding the closure we expect from an artwork. The audience is no longer exposed

to an aesthetic realisation, but to a work in the making, a potential. Plastic is authentic when it is

malleable, seems to say Slecht, and so is her practice, when she shares with us the obvious pleasure

she takes in making.

 

- Sébastien Goy, 2013

Sanne Maloe Slecht

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