Rebekka Macht 'evoke' (portrait of Halid Nuhu)

'evoke' (portrait of Halid @nuhu__)

acrylic on canvas

150 cm x 200 cm

2022

After a long pandemic-induced phase of self-portraits, this nude portrait is Rebekka Macht’s first work of another person and, after focussing on women*’s depiction, her first work of a male-identified subject in over 9 years. It is, thus, a work of new an re- connection. Concurrently, it is in line with her previous works in questioning gender norms and creating androgynous ambiguities.
The tender expression and vulnerable presence of the subject is emphasized by his nudity that exposes him, and on the other hand protected by his positioning of the arms and hands, holding himself. At the front of the painting are, held by one hand, his legs and feet which become a focal point, separating the subject from the viewer, and putting a focus on authenticity rather than sexualizing a nude body.
The subject looks right at the viewer with a slightly tilted head, creating connection with the viewer while in connection to his self, caring for himself while being able to show vulnerability. The positioning and the impasto paint application makes him appear resting and grounded, though seemingly floating on an intangible watercolored background, whereas the wavy brushstrokes and the colors create a dynamic liveliness. There’s an otherworldliness to his floating and the choice of color, and a contrasting sadness in his expression. This is picked up in the title ‚evoke‘, which can relate to evoking feeling in himself or the viewer, but also evoking a deity or spirit.

Rebekka Macht 'evoke' (portrait of Halid Nuhu)
Rebekka Macht 'evoke' (portrait of Halid Nuhu)
Rebekka Macht 'evoke' (Portrait of Halid Nuhu)
Rebekka Macht 'evoke' (portrait of Halid Nuhu)

'liminal' (self-portrait)

acrylic on canvas

190 cm x 280 cm

2022

‚liminal‘ is a dual self portrait in which the self is divided into two parts while remaining interconnected, offering a polyvalent interpretation of the two representatives.
The intense ultramarine backdrop shows slight shadows and places the subjects into a vast space that could be associated with water or sky/air/space. The lower subject is seated, exhibiting a smile rarely seen in Macht’s works, while the upper subject floats with eyeballs rolled back as common in her works, suggesting ecstasy or unconsciousness, pleasure or suffering. They are connected by a rope between their heads that could reference an umbilical cord and by a dissolving mass between the upper subject’s feet and the lower subject’s back.

The two parts can, for instance, be seen as a secular and an etheric one, as different stages of consciousness, or plainly as different version of oneself. In relation to the artist’s recent works ‚transient‘ and ‚can you touch me like this‘, they can also be seen as a part dreamily acting on an infatuation, while the other part is drawn along and feels the consequences. Another perspective can be exploring a state of manifesting, where the possibilities of creating a future through imagination are unfolding into space.

'transient' (self-portrait)

acrylic on canvas

triptych of 3 x 70 cm x 140 cm

2022

‚transient‘ was inspired by a work at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich: ‘Frau mit Telefon’ by Norbert Tadeusz, 1967, showing a woman sitting on a chair naked and holding an old school telephone to her ear.

Rebekka Macht translated the scenery into a triptych self-portrait in a contemporary setting, picking up on smartphones playing a huge role in our connectivity and distance to and from each other nowadays.

The subjects are naked, but their attention and posture withdrawn, ignoring the viewer. Among other, there are ambiguities in the in-between spaces of physical proximity and distance between the two subjects, the presence and the dissolving of the second subject, and a suggested but dissolved spatial localization of the scenery.

In frames 1 and 3 the protagonist is holding herself, while in frame 2 the second person is holding her and carrying her on her lap. Despite this, her left foot seems strained by the support and her left arm, emphasized in color and size, seems to set the tone in the intimate interaction.

The impasto application of paint and the sharp edges of the protagonist contrast the dissolving watercolor technique of the colored background areas and parts of the second person in the middle frame, and the mobile phones in frames 1 & 3. The protagonist can be read as female, but both characters have androgynous elements and no unequivocal gender. Their extremities are non-proportional in their length, size and shape and are a focal point due to their arrangement and role in the interaction. 'transient' can be defined in many ways, including transitory, ephemeral, non-stationary, and a short-lived guest or pulse of electricity.

'can you touch me like this' (self-portrait)

acrylic on canvas

175 cm x 200 cm

2022

‚can you touch me like this‘ is a self-portrait with two faces merging into one another and hands touching the face. The hand that caresses the left face chokes the right one. At the same time, there is an ambiguity between suffering and sexual. The left face enjoys with eyes closed while the right face rolls its eyes back or looks up pleadingly. The title suggests a reference to another person who is not visible in the painting. The work reflects the multiple responses that romantic feelings and touch can elicit and their interrelationship and circularity.

With the two faces, ‘can you touch me like this’ easily reminds one of my work ‘resurrection’ from 2019, and it is in a way a new interpretation of my ideas in it, both referencing a duality of being. On the other hand, they are fundamentally different. ‘Resurrection’ referenced a process that’s happening with the self in relation to societal or personal experiences within our surroundings, making us suffer, renew, grow from, overcome, but still always be part of. 
‘can you touch me like this’, on the other hand, happened in connection with the recent triptych ‘transient’ referencing intimate relationships. A reference of inspiration for the work is the sentence ‚you make me go unstitched‘, a line from ‚Polly‘ by Moses Sumney. A focal thought in making this work was the turbulence intimacy can put us in, by taking us apart in the most difficult and beautiful ways. Taking hold of us, caressing us. Confronting us with fears and mirroring our shadows, while putting us in moments of being at unparalleled peace with existence in the world.

'in-/ex-'

acrylic on canvas

220 cm x 165 cm

2022

‚in-/ex-‚ (latin in- for in, into, towards, during, within...,ex- for from, out of, through, forth...) consists of two types of canvas sewn together; the smoother cotton sections on the rough jute create different textures and result in a variety of brush stroke quality.

The eyes not only show different moods, perspectives and suggest multidimensionality, but also reference a variety of my existing self portraits.

The work aims to combine a rational, inventory view of life with one that asserts the power of energies, dreams, the spiritual. From looking at societal and personal structures, the artist wants to dream up new realities of breaking free.