At first glance, the work of Bernd Ribbeck finds its all-too-neat analog in the architecture of Angiolo Mazzoni: small formats are reflected in the cellular construction of spaces, and their historical nature corresponds to imagery that need not be dated in the present. Ribbeck’s images make reference to a vocabulary of form that is in some measure as ancient as the architecture in which Manifesta 7 displays it. This artist is nevertheless interested in entirely different utopian schemes from those of the technical, rationalist Mazzoni. Ribbeck’s references are marginal figures in the history of art who oriented their creation toward spiritual ideas – like Sweden’s Hilma af Klint, Switzerland’s Emma Kunz, or the Crystal Chain group of architects, whose plans were unlikely to be realized and were mostly put down on paper as drawings or poetic visions. The field of modern church design is likewise of interest to Ribbeck; here, rational, modernist ideas collide with clerical requirements to create unique constructions. Keeping to his historical points of reference, and with the aid of self-imposed limitations in format and the choice of shapes, Ribbeck aims for the development of an original language of form, in which the role of the visionary is its guiding thread, and which refuses to serve any application.
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