Thoughts On: Gallery Weekend Berlin 2018 (Part One: Liliane Tomasko)

Liliane Tomasko

a dream of at Blain | Southern, Potsdamer Straße 77 - 87, Berlin

Installation View of a dream of  at Blain|Southern Berlin (Photo: Trevor Good)

Liliane Tomasko is a contemporary painter of Swiss-Hungarian origin who studied in London at Camberwell College, Chelsea College of Art and Design, and the Royal Academy of Arts. The foundation of Tomasko's work is interior life - from her earlier paintings of unmade beds, through to her latest works depicting the emotions conjured by her most vivid and affecting dreams - she sees extraordinary things within private moments.

I encountered her work for the first time this year at Blain | Southern in Berlin. The exhibition (running until 16th June) is titled "a dream of". The title of each of the paintings refers to strong and lasting feelings and emotions that have been provoked or stirred up by specific series of dreams that Tomasko has had throughout her life, and which are so potent she continues to carry them with her. 

Entering the exhibition you are first confronted by the scale, colour, gestural and linear forms of the painting a dream of: Rapture Unleashed. The painting is energetic, and though you are given no other clue than the title: between it, the movement and the colour, you have enough. You yourself feel elated, a little lighter in step, and continue on through the exhibition, the paintings becoming bolder and darker as you proceed. 

From a dream of: Rapture Unleashed to a dream of: Invisible Chaos, Tomasko chooses her palette from "memories of light and sensation" from the titular dreams. She constructs the works in such a way that the layers of paint exist on different levels, coming in and out of prominence in the way that memories and our subconscious do. I sense a commonality between what she is describing and what I experience from certain dreams - perhaps we all do - the way in which some dreams are so powerful they linger within you and come to seem as though they are memories. 

Yet, for all her recognition and embrace of the power of her dreams, within the press material available at Blain|Southern Tomasko states that she does not believe that dreams are allegories. Rather, she sees them as another reality, existing within their own "independent matrix". Though I cannot agree that dreams are in no way allegories; looking at her paintings there is a  feeling of being let into a world that in many ways is the last frontier of the public vs the personal.

Tomasko has spent a great deal of her career working from the home, photographing cloth and fibres in research and preparation for her larger paintings. She sees a correlation between bedsheets and the canvas - between the domestic and the artistic. There is a definite focus on these smallest of details, and the consistent phraseology within critiques of her work reminds me of Lee Mingwei's Mending Project - another, differing use of the metaphoric properties of fabric and thread.

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