Kestner Gesellschaft is presenting the first institutional solo exhibition of British artist Ella Walker (b. 1993, Manchester, UK).
Within the intersection of medieval and contemporary spaces, Ella Walker moves freely, interchanging histories with invented scenes that are both referential and dream-like. By creating imagery that merges art historical iconography from the Trecento and Renaissance periods, theatrical sets and stock characters from Commedia dell'Arte, contemporary ballet, and costume design inspired by 1960s cinematic scenes and fashion magazines, Walker translates ritual into innovation, refitting old narratives into contemporary plots of unfolding tragedy, comedy, and love.
The resulting meeting challenges viewers’ understanding of the sacred and profane, while simultaneously encouraging the rethinking of binaries of old and new, high and low culture. Walker combines painting and drawing (using a vast array of mediums including tempera, gesso, pastel, and ink) to create shallow, stage-like depths of field and interspersing planes of color that usurp holistic understandings of structure and composition. Curator of the show is Adam Budak.
Ella Walker trained in painting and printmaking at Glasgow School of Art (Glasgow, UK) and drawing at the Royal Drawing School (London). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United Kingdom, as well as in Casey Kaplan’s group exhibition, Where the threads are worn (2021). Her work is included in several European permanent collections, including the Royal Collection (London, UK), and was recently exhibited in a solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan, New York in 2022. She currently lives and works in London.