Floral forms are undeniably the main focus of Mevlana Lipp’s (b. 1989) artistic practice in his recent body of work. Flowers, stems and leafs dominate the artist’s works with large visualizations. Great emphasis is given on the geometries and the abstract lines that aim to recreate new entities less reminiscent of a plant but more of an uncanny formation. Taking into account the use of dark coulors and highly exaggerated forms, these flower images are not only firm observations of nature but dynamic abstract depictions. Long, flexible and kinetic shapes evoke a mysterious movement on the paintings, which are executed by a particular technique; such artworks can be also described as sculptural mediums with painted cutouts on velvet base.
Words: Yannis Kostarias
Lipp’s work seems like a short guide to tactile imagery, while his drawing sketches are initially transferred from paper to a wooden plate and then the work keeps on being adapted. Then the artist, as he mentions, “saws out the forms and paints them afterwards with different techniques. The painted wooden forms are finally sealed and mounted on black velvet”. Moreover, Lipp constructed a range of thin sculptural forms that are in aesthetic alliance with the rest of his painted artworks. There is a continuous interplay between the artist’s two and three dimensional structures.
In his last body of work, the black colour is ruling in the background of his floral designs. Oneiric and symbolic conceptions may be applicable while observing Lipp’s multidimensional work. At first glance, the eye is engaged with plant motifs and forms, however a closer involvement with these elements enables the artist’s lines to turn to some malformed, unnatural and even ghostly figures. Often tropical plants visibly look extraordinary, yet the hidden nature of such exotic rare species can be potentially dangerous. At this level, along with the unfamiliar plant parts, some other vague configurations also establish their presence. Pliant hands, long fingers and pointed nails, with an underlying resemblance to weird leafs, further contribute to a freakish environment. The palette used contains uncommon hues of pink, blue, green or yellow, whereas their contradiction with the black colour becomes profound bringing up an appealing variegated result. An alternative, contemporary point of view on still life is remarkably established and fearlessly rendered.
Born in Cologne, Germany, in 1989, Mevlana Lipp lives Leverkusen and works in Düsseldorf. In 2015 he graduated from the Düsseldorf Art Academy. He was a master student at the class of Prof. Thomas Grünfeld. His work has been presented worldwide in art galleries in Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, the United States and the United Kingdom. His latest solo show, named ‘Eden’ is taking place now at Krupic Kersting Galerie (KUK) in Cologne and is curated by Wilko Austermann.
Art Verge: Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Mevlana Lipp: My working process is divided into several steps. Most of the works are done as a sketch on paper first. This drawing is then transferred to a wooden plate and adapted. Then I saw out the forms and paint them afterwards with different techniques. The painted wooden forms are finally sealed and mounted on black velvet.
AV: Observing your work, it seems that the black colour has a dominant presence on the background of your reliefs. Has this dark colour a significant meaning in your work?
ML: The black background opens up an indefinable space. It is endlessly deep and absolutely flat at the same time. Against this background the beings I depict float in a space detached from time.
AV: Creating a new artwork can be a solitary process. If this applies to you, when you concentrate on a new artwork does it affect your social life at all?
ML: I wish it weren’t like that but when I’m struggling I also bring these emotions into my relationship. It used to be difficult for me but lately I can separate these two aspects of my life better and better.
AV: How do you know when drawing/painting/artwork is finished?
ML: It’s done when it feels done.
AV: What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space like, and how does it affect your process and where is your studio now based?
ML: My studio is located in Düsseldorf. It’s a bright room in an old factory. The room itself has no influence on my work, but there are several other ateliers in the same building, which leads to a constant exchange with other artists.
AV: Which exhibition did you visit last?
ML: Actually not an art exhibition. I was in an ethnology exhibition about rites for life and death and pretty much blown away by it.
AV: What does your mum think about your art?
ML: She likes it!
AV: Are you a morning person or a night owl?
ML: 100% night owl.
AV: Is the glass half empty or half full?
ML: Most of the time “half full”.
AV: Which are your plans for the near future?
ML: After my exhibition “Eden” at Kuk-Cologne, there are now several new projects on the agenda, among them a solo exhibition at the Ak-Raum in Cologne in June.
© All images are courtesy of the artist