Born 1987  |  Lives and works in Düsseldorf



During the painting process, Ina Gerken experiences what seem like plans or recipes for how a painting will emerge. As it ultimately turns out, whatever control she thinks she has is only an illusion. In the end, the paintings are autonomous and follow their own logic, if they are allowed to. That logic –made up entirely of elements based on feelings –reminds her of her true inner self. This is often hidden behind a mask wrought out of our assumptions about a world that we have inherited, learned, and constructed. This deeper self always knows better, and is somewhat similar to the forces at play behind the paintings, she says.


In Gerken’s new works we see a change in the appearance of the shapes. Always in search of the right shape, she has now largely abandoned non-specific forms for a more figurative approach (without pointing to anything in particular), which leaves more room than before for the viewer’s imagination.


Certain paintings in the show, such as Enter TimeWhat Else Is There and The Rising, seem to be transformed and generated, as if they had brought something into being or been turned into something new. Others, such as PlayThe Garden and Another Land, are more playful and have an easiness about them. The Opposite of You (the largest painting in the exhibition) is something of a centre of gravity, which the other paintings orbit around. It has an ever-changing quality to it, passing through multiple stages of becoming and being.


In a wider sense, the exhibition’s title, RISING, refers to the rising up of our inner nature – what we actually are – as opposed to what we intend to be. The exhibition marks the much-anticipated return of Gerken to Finland after the great success of her last show back in 2018. During the winter, she took part in the NOW! Young Painting in Germany exhibition, which toured four different art museums across Germany and is at the Deichtorhallen Hamburg until mid-August.