Dina Wimmer, Kunsthistorikerin
In her work, Oskar Rink balances chaos and structure by translating the secrets and mysteries behind the opaque thought processes that constitute our perceptions into meticulous visual systems. Her work begs questions about the reasons and relations of “Being-in-the-world”. Rink’s abstract compositions – whether in print, on canvas, in glass cases or as free-floating installations – usually traverse two formative stages. Her artistic language is informed by a constant alternation between the two- and the three-dimensional. At first, she begins by setting out three-dimensional scaffoldings to provide a complete overview as a foundation for the two-dimensional processing of her imagination. Driven by her concern to visualize the entire spatiality of an image she has in mind, Rink starts by building paper constructions, dexterously assembled models or scaffoldings. These miniature worlds serve as pre-orientation device to systematize and organize what is to be processed later into large-scale installations, drawings and paintings.
While Rink continuously adheres to a painterly concept, she has been expropriating and refining her very own style to form intricately balanced designs. Experimenting with space, time and materiality, her fragmented paintings, delicate sculptural compositions, stage-like installations and architectonically primed photographs encompass the instability of the individual in the world. She successfully captures the daze resulting from the tension between order and dis-order by synergizing these two paradoxical states within a complex framework of its own internal logic. Involving haptic aspects of engineering and building, Rink’s abstract compositions yield carefully considered arrangements with a tendency to disorientate the viewer. The different moldable materials she uses, cardboard, wood and aluminium, leave room for intuition and coincidence and direct the viewer’s gaze down multiple paths. In her most recent paintings, she employs a special wiping technique that allows her to apply thin, translucent layers of oil paint, or to remove paint from certain areas. Fragmentary drawings subtly disclose the different layers that constitute the development process of her complex compositions. This technique enhances the three-dimensional impression, adding more depth to both the illusionistic and the abstract spaces that coincide in her productions. Layers as both a technical and aesthetical feature become her inside joke, each one maintaining a mobile, subtle life of its own.
Consistent with the essence of her work, Rink doesn’t strive for perfect form but for genuine form instead. Therefore, imperfection becomes a desired effect as it is essential to the development process of each work of art. Deliberately deployed torques of interference require a second as well as a third glimpse. Transformed and disfigured, each image evolves by layers made up of individual pictorial steps, each of which is determined by a multitude of circumstances which Rink doesn’t seek to hide from her viewers but to invite them instead to galvanize their own inquisitive impulses.
Each layer, each element within each work takes a life of its own by the viewer who looks at it, giving the impression that many separate components are emerging in close proximity to one another, while in fact these ostensibly individual components are parts of one overarching theme. According to Rink, they are “rhizomatically” interconnected. Although such connections are not always directly visible, her works can be understood as an assemblage, which forms part of a larger rhizome or, more precisely, an interconnected totality of processes differing in form, dimension and material. Every single artwork embodies in itself layers upon layers of a process. The “rhizome” (or assemblage) in Rink’s work denotes the laminations of the relationally interconnected, dynamically and qualitatively differentiated constituents of one rhizomorphic reality.
In an ultimate clin d’oeil, framing the piece adds physical structure, implying that control has been established over disorder and movement within each subject. Since early in her career Rink seeks to transcend the classical frame, challenging the viewers’ perception of space, light and shape, which unfolds beyond its boundaries. Conversations with her father were formative in her own interpretation of the frame as an artistic as well as a technical medium. At the beginning of her artistic activity, he called her attention to the idea that when painting a picture, the most important thing is to hold on to a favourite angle. Ever since, the frame serves her as a fragmentation tool to control whether the power of an image is omnipresent or only visible from certain perspectives. Likewise, the frame helps her to keep track of more subtle elements within a picture as well as to emphasise certain parts. In Fenster zum Hof (2017), Morgen (2014/15) or Conatus (2014), for instance, the frame encloses the artwork in a confined space. Black tape is carefully affixed on the outer edges of the glass cabinets surrounding the delicate objects built from materials like paper, card, wire, thread, gouache, spray paint, wood and pins. As an all-encompassing element, the black lines, used as visual frame, represent both a means to an end and an aesthetical medium.
Rink creates a dialogue between dream and reality, she turns the physical and the mental world to her own creative ends. This ‘inside/outside’ polarity creates cryptically reinforced bonds between the inner subjectivity of the viewer to the outer materiality of the art. Rink herself puts it best when she refers to the „fragile sphere of inner vision of outer reality”.