Helene Appel

CCA Andratx is pleased to present the new exhibition by the artist Helene Appel (DE, 1976) featuring a new body of works created during her residency at the CCA Studios earlier this year.


Painting on a 1:1 scale, distinctive to the artist’s practice, the show comprises large life-like tree trunks, rendered in watercolour on heavy linen fabric. The trees are made using a new technique, where the objects are ‘cut-out’ from the canvas, forming three-dimensional silhouettes.

Through the act of cutting-out, Appel is ostensibly destroying painting; the canvas comes to life as an object in itself rather than an image-on-canvas stretched over a wooden frame. Similar to the attention we might give to someone whilst engaging in deep conversation, surroundings disappear completely, the only focus is what we see in front of us, in this case, trees.



Helene Appel (DE)


Helene Appel was born in Karlsruhe in 1976 and studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg and obtained her MA from the Royal College of Art in London. She lives and works in Berlin. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including: Waves, The Approach, London, UK (2017); Washing Up, P420, Bologna, Italy (2016); James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY (2014). Selected group exhibitions include: Kettle’s Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield, cur. Anthea Hamilton, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, UK (2016); Queensize - Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection, Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, Netherlands (2016); CORALE, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Frigoriferi Milanesi, Milan, Italy (2016); Beating The Bounds, Art Now, curated by Lizzie Carey-Thomas and Clarrie Wallis, Tate Britain, London (2009).

Appel’s trees extend upwards and outwards, but as three-meter-high paintings. They go beyond the conventions of ordinary painting, in a way that is similar to how abstract painters approached the canvas, except rather than extending the pictorial form through gesture, Appel’s trees extend painting through the content of the picture itself. The only thing about the painting now is its tree-ness.


As well as the tree paintings retaining the trees’ height when we physically encounter them, there are also two very small paintings in the exhibition, taking their smallness and tiny proportions from live sized raw pieces of fish. Frontally, and life like in their material appearance, these slices of fish confront our gaze like a face, a portrait on a miniature stretcher.

Both, paintings of fish and trees look for a way to encounter, and enter into a new, mutual relationship with these subjects.