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Fata Morgana is a term used in physics to describe a complex superordinate mirage, with alternation of compressed and stretched zones, and upright and inverted images. Kropff uses the Desert Gate - a group of large, now disappeared placeholder billboards for the various theme hotels of the Bawadi project in Dubai Land - as a stage to explore the phenomena of the man-made mirage.
Kropff, inspired by Titian, creates magnificent surfaces that reflect and filter light. Their skilful perception and the use of pigments create canvases that are at once magnificent, breathtaking, calm and overwhelming. Her large works - in which zooming into the picture often gives the impression of almost abstract work - are full of emotion and captivating depth, while her smaller works - in which perspective serves to sober the mind and offer the opportunity to reflect on the subject - are more detailed and laconic. This alternation of rhythm and interest brings out the texture of a dream you are experiencing. A mirage that is constantly changing - from compressed to stretched, from vertical to flat. Fata Morgana. A captured dream. A dream of Dubai.
There are not many artists who have dealt with the Dubai phenomenon with the skill and depth that Kropff brings to bear. The concept of exploring convention and reflection as tools of creation - probably the defining leitmotif of 20th-century art and literature - comes to life in their work on a new level. As a graduate of the most renowned art academies in Germany - the Düsseldorf Art Academy and the Städelschule Frankfurt am Main - Kropff uses her skills in painting to achieve certain new qualities in this medium that distinguish her work and give it that unforgettable, special something that brings you back to her art. Whether in reality or in your dreams.
"Driving past these theatrical 3D constructions in a desert setting, I felt an instant fascination with their chameleon-like appearance as a figurative painter. The painted facades changed appearance and readability as position, light, and time of day changed. Under my mobile gaze, the billboard representations dissolved to the point of indecipherability but remained as monumental landmarks, promises of prosperity and participation in a future world. Both the construction and deconstruction revealed a surreal quality, an uneasy icon.“
Larissa Kolesnikova, 2010
Larissa Kolesnikova is an independent curator, art adviser and founder of Perceptions Fine Art Consulting. She lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
The works were shown in 2010 at XVA Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Carolin Kropff, bildende Künstlerin, Atelier Studio Space Lange Strasse 31, Frankfurt. Malerei, Zeichnung, Druckkunst, Textilkunst, Kollaboration, Performance, Fotografie, Studio Praxis.