Charlotte Ritzow was born in Berlin on 05 March1971.
After starting from a traditional figurative, Charlotte Ritzow has arrived at a figurative-informal that is in itself a very singular combination, difficult to conceptualise and even more so to achieve.
Critics of the caliber of Alessio Calestani and Paolo Levi have written about her with enthusiastic tones. Dozens of her works have been sold in the main Italian auction houses.
The artist succeeded in the enterprise by drawing on a rich baggage of energy, as well as technique, which allowed her to transcend the limits of the single object represented. In fact, more than an object it is a concept-object.
And precisely in this lies her skill: to bring out from a simple element a myriad of allusions and reflections that are amplified to become a real microcosm.
Two concepts-objects that monopolize her production, at least the most recent one: the key and the hinge.
Objects that express a message that includes its opposite: opening and closing.
Allusions and illusions precisely that combine to crowd the pictorial picture outlined with meager but precise intelligence.
The mechanism that clicks on the zippers is the same.
In this case, however, the sense of boundary takes over from an almost suspended and indefinite atmosphere.
The zipper, which intersects the canvas with unconscious references to Fontana's fissures, opens and closes at the same time some domains which, although clearly defined, do not lose at all in our eyes, indeed increase their ineffability..
What territories are we venturing into? What are we leaving behind? What is the future that awaits us? These are the questions that Charlotte Ritzow's painting raises in the observer. Questions that arise with the strength of simplicity of those who have embarked on their own well-conscious journey towards what humanity needs.
Why i have adopted the Zipper - Charlotte Ritzow, 2011
I adopted the zipper as an expressive instrument, such as a symbol or metaphor of everyday life.The zipper opens and closes like a flash, start a race and arena at the point of arrival. Begins and ends, such as dialogue, hope, love and life.Not only that opens and reveals and conceals or greenhouse. The revelation promotes truth closure simulation, denial, betrayal of sincerity.The hinge, for better or worse, part of the daily life, all of us, the pages, the simplest or the most twisted of our existence.The hinge holds our personal relationships, and interviews with consolidation, solidarity and friendship, trust and future. But at the same time, and on the contrary, hides-reality, refuses the interview raises a boundary, a barrier keeps places denied and driven away the prospect.It opens as a horizon of images and closes like chest of silence, as a gravestone of the past.Can be translated in the absoluteness of an ‚idea, in the memory, imagination, consciousness and interiority.You may even think that the zipper is a portrait, social, moral, of the individual and of his soul.It ‚a simple thing but it‘s a thousand pages of reading and in this I find fascinating.
THE RETURN OF ALICE - Paolo Levi, 2000
Although the art of Charlotte Ritzow dates back to recent times, it would be wise to avoid an overly simplistic judgement of her works, which may be a temptation due to her young age and amateur status.
Her poetic expression, in fact, has its roots in an experimental world, learnt in her homeland, Germany, where she studied profoundly and thoroughly the art of the palette.
Her work in Italy, and thus in different environmental conditions, reveals a certain intermingling of learning – that which accompanies the precepts of the painting ‘profession’ – and elements of the magical-expressive dimension.
Charlotte Ritzow is a liberated European painter. On the level of figure narration she betrays no nordic, expressionist nostalgia. Her works, indeed, present a consistent solarity which is undeniably Mediterranean.
The creation of ‘Spiaggia’ (Beach) brings to the fore the work of a skilled painter having the ability to blend her own narrative ideas with the delightfulness of the subject matter. It is a bright work: the white sail on the horizon signals and signifies light, which floods the canvas abstractly, composed of variations of deep and light blues.
Due to her naturally contemplative character, this young artist is mainly inclined towards a visionary, figurative-informal art, with an intimacy which concentrates on a concoction of memories and unconscious sensations.
We can imagine how her first instructive environment – that of the art classrooms of her native country – did not in the least alter her tendency to respect her own oneiric and essential visions, indeed, to abandon herself to them through the beauty of visual poetry.
Charlotte Ritzow has the gift of being able to draw out of each painting the greatest possible clarity, in a forging of meanings which bear witness to her strong creative personality.
This can be seen in ‘Tramonto’ (Sunset), an impelling, atmospheric painting of beautiful composition. Ritzow appreciates the similar themes portrayed by Nicolas De Stael, on permanent exhibition in the Castle of Antibes, and succeeds without doubt in capturing the same sensitivity of colour which sweeps horizontally across the backgrounds in variations of black, yellow and orange.
The intimist accent defines and enhances the artist’s perception of the constantly transfigured world of fairytale and myth. She demonstrates a perpetually lucid state of mind by her use of allusive colours in plays of simplification. Her unique sea-greens, with their vibrant chromatism, are a perfect expression of the innerly contemplative spirit of the artist.
They bear witness to a strong need to exalt her own imaginative personality, as can be seen in ‘Solitudine’ (Solitude), in which a pure white sail, symbolising the theme of the painting, seems a defenceless monologue, alone among the bright, gigantic waves of a blue sea. The whole painting is an exultant call to open spaces, which evoke a controlled emotional charge.
The young painter believes passionately in her own profession as narrator of abstract feelings, devoted to the invisible and its materialisation on the canvas.
Her present (and, I am certain, also her future) artistic personality is determined by a total autonomy, with respect to the contemporary artistic trends of so-called “young art”. She avoids, in fact, medial art, brut art, conceptualism, choosing instead the more pleasant tendencies towards an assorted world, lunar or semi-abstract, in a lyrically figurative allusivity. This can be seen in ‘Luna galleggiante’ (Floating Moon), in my opinion, one of her most important compositions, where her understanding of colour as a linguistic expression comes across perfectly. The painting, in fact, is a constant play of tones and counter-tones: the yellow moonlight which blends with variations of deep blue and anthracite black and grey, the starry sky as a lyrical palette of white dots heralding the silence of night… Contemplating this work, it is possible to sense, and individuate, the many disguises that a personal dream may take on. Ritzow uses those of childhood, bizarre, extravagant, with their eternal elements of expected magic and veiled, melancholic happiness, as in the case of ‘Il faro di Hiddensee’ (The Lighthouse of Hiddensee), in which a broad, atonal strip of naphtol carmine red overhangs a landscape in the dark green of Hooker.
The artist’s landscapes appear at times poetically vague, nictating. Charlotte Ritzow, in fact, is somewhat like her paintings. She sails alone through her personal fairytales and myths and the warm splendour of her colours, the definite precision of her chromatic orchestrations, leaving no room for misinterpretation or confusion.
With the pantheistic representation of the great oak tree in the impessive composition entitled ‘Energy’, the image of Nature appears to transform itself into an intensely fauvist expressivity, living in a sphere which has nothing of the ‘real’, the tangible.
It must be emphasised that Ritzow occupies a singular place on the stage of young European art. She is equally distant from the irrational flights of fancy of the recent avant-guarde and from the idleness of a figuration which no longer seems to want to narrate genuine poetry. Charlotte Ritzow, on the contrary, is an artist who defends to the extreme her own particular mode of evoking the dream-dreamer, who continually finds new expression on the canvas.
We can appreciate her ingenious freedom both of improvisation (see ‘Il cigno’ (The Swan)) and of the formal definition of a spellbound candour. Her judgement of the age she lives in is pleasantly detatched. In every composition there is a rejection of the dramatic, of anxiety, distress, while the world of her fantasies is blended together with the ideals of a futuristic dream, where one day, hopefully, peace will reign.
At times, we find in the figures hints of early 1900 painting (see ‘Il bacio’ (The Kiss)), which Ritzow inevitably carries, like a creative and renewing sap, in her blood.
The dream, which transfigures both nature and the human figure (sometimes with a nightmare quality interpreted in a slightly ironic key, as in ‘La vendetta’ (The Revenge)), adds further emphasis to the aspect of narration as an exquisitely surreal game, perceptible in the mobility of the figures and the emblematic fixedness. What in fact do the female figures of Charlotte Ritzow portray, if not the emptiness of existence? What becomes of them?
Where they are present in her paintings, they appear as figures in an attitude of allarm, provoking in the observer a subtle irritation by their theatrical, grotesque appearance.
In reality, it is above all the sea, with its blue sky, that represents the true backcloth of her poetic world. Charlotte is, in actual fact, a kind of Alice sailing happily through her Wonderland.
The dream-dreamer is the soul of her paintings, expressing at once silence and sound, and crossing over each time into the realm of fairytale abstraction - an abstraction which she causes to materialise through the allusive nature of the figures with their atonal, radiance-evoking colours.
Special attention must be given to her sharp, chromatic orchestrations, horizontal, unhesitant, geometric and marked. Every one of her compositions, we must remember, expresses the situation cheeriness that was typical of the works of Nicholas De Stael and the visions of round moons and other symbols of eternal childhood for which Paul Klee was famous.
Charlotte Ritzow – and in this lies her maturity – gives more importance, perhaps, to colour than to subject matter, which she generally perceives with the heart. Her first thought is mainly to colour, as modulation and density which is strewn melodiously
across the surface of the painting. The atonal colour shades thus bring together certain wide and precise pieces in a warm, evocative mosaic, a wonderfully open fairytale, where the eye of the observer wanders spellbound, and free from visual labyrinths.