‘The Mulch’ marks Rebecca Ackroyd’s first solo exhibition in Berlin and follows Peres Projects’s presentation of the young British artist at the Independent art fair in New York in March. The show transports some of the elements debuted there into the much more generous scale of the gallery, and include a range of drawings, paintings, and sculptures made of chicken-wire, wax, and plaster. Several white sculptures depict female figures wearing motorcycle helmets covered in red melted wax, with tufts of hair showing from underneath them. They’re sitting in a position that affords the viewer a frontal view of their torsos. Their reproductive parts are missing, though, and red window-like cavities are carved there instead, as well as on their knees, like reversed protective patches. (The body as architecture is a recurring motif in Ackroyd’s work.) Another new series of sculptures titled ‘Carriers’ (2017–18), cast from closed storefront shutters, are painted to appear weathered and tagged. This view, as if from the street, creates a reversal of inside and outside. Ackroyd’s velvety drawings contrast the allusion of dereliction the sculptural works evoke. They are dense, colourful, lush, and show ambiguous and enigmatic forms, like a fantastical strain of vegetation sprouting from underneath the mulch.
- Hili Perlson