Abandoned building or 12th century Church? Kiwi artist Lisa Chandler in Leipzig.

Friday 6 May 2016, 9:22PM

By Lisa Chandler



Abandoned building or 12th century Church? Most tourists would opt for the Church but New Zealand painter Lisa Chandler has become fascinated with the manifold abandoned urban-scapes of Leipzig in Germany.

Chandler is halfway through a four-month artist residency at the Leizpig International Artist Programme (LIAP) in Leipzig’s famous Spinnerei art hub. She chose to go to Leipzig because the city has a strong painting base. Leipzig is known internationally for ‘The New Leipzig School’, which relates to a group of painters working in the post-reunfication climate of modern Germany, such as Neo Rauch and Matthias Weischer.

Chandler says: “The quality of painting in Leipzig is very high. It is amazing to be working in my LIA studio during the day and in the evening attend an art opening where I can see works by Daniel Richter and Matthais Weischer. There is no substitute for seeing a painting in the real”

In fact, both Neo Rauch and Matthias Weischer have studios in the Spinnerei, and along with saying ‘hallo’ to Rauch on the stairwell, Chandler is hoping some of their painting genius will rub off on her. As part of the LIA programme, Chandler, along with the four other international LIA artists, get to visit the studios of local artists and have their work critiqued by local curators.

Chandler has been continuing her global research into place and non-place in Leipzig. The new series she is developing ‘Zwischen Gestern und Morgen’ (between Yesterday and Tomorrow) questions individual and collective aspirations for Leipzig’s manifold abandoned spaces. Symbols of urban life; derelict buildings, graffiti, skyscrapers and cranes reflect the tensions and relationship between urban culture and gentrification.

Chandler says: “Leipzig still has many abandoned buildings and empty wastelands and with the population on the increase again, it seems on the cusp of another boom. However, locals are rightly concerned that their city might fall to the same fate as Berlin, and become too popular and expensive for them. I hope my paintings open up fresh discussions.”

Anna-Louise Rolland, Director of the LIAP Programme says: “The beautiful thing about artist residencies is that they open up our own vision to things long forgotten or overseen with fresh new eyes. Habits and daily life can make us blind towards the variety and disruptions in life but guest artists can make us look closer or even focus again on the overlooked or on things to small or silent to call for attention. Such as does Lisa Chandler. She makes such spheres visible again. She deliberately shows how the former industrialist now desolate factory quarter of Leipzig comes to new life. A blend of sophisticated landscape painting couples with former factory architecture taken by nature and modern architecture as well as sub culture elements such as graffiti in permanent simultaneous dialogue. Such as through broken windows we are made aware of time layers and histories. Spray cans and nature tell a story of a vital city full of dichotomies made visible in the painting by Lisa Chandler.

Chandler is one of Nelson’s leading contemporary artists and this is the first time she has exhibited in Europe.

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