The German artist, Jakob Roepke, makes beautiful small-scale collages on card, each measuring just 13 x 12 cm. These CD size fairytale, or myth-like, narratives are each set in an interior space -’Innenwelt’ refers to an inner world seen through dreams of enclosed, protected spaces – where heroes and heroines fight the eternal fight of good against evil.
We might be looking at something that has just happened, or are asked to decide what happens next, which suggests that there is a logical conclusion to Roepke’s surreal riddles, but, as we know, nothing is ever as it seems.
Roepke began producing his small collages in 1996 and has since created well over 1000 separate works. While each collage is an individual work, his clusters, implying both short and longer narratives, build up networks of reoccurring motives, situations and themes.
Roepke continually reinvents scenes for his tiny protagonists, the figures of which are drawn from 19th century Jiu Jitsu and 1970s yoga handbooks. Isolated in seemingly lonely domestic spaces, he throws them into ever changing and unexpected situations as if each work were a piece of iconographic research. The quotidian is turned on its head as the figures ward off monstrous animals, wild geometric figures and strange alien forms. Drawing upon art history, popular culture and the surrealist tradition, each piece is left open to a wealth of contextual interpretations.
Jakob Roepke can be likened to a pseudo- medieval painter of miniatures depicting grand and horrific ideas on a miniature scale. Following the surrealist tradition of Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico his tiny collages seem to reference the uncertainty and adversity of 21th century life; yet while the scenes hover between hopelessness and destruction, Roepke’s central figures always seem on the verge of tipping the fight in their favour.
Jakob Roepke lives and works in Berlin. He has exhibited his collages regularly throughout Europe in exhibitions in Germany, Denmark, Israel, UAE, USA and the UK.
This is his second solo exhibition at FRED. 25 April – 1 June