The artist duo Albrecht/Wilke have appeared on the Berlin art scene, and we visited them in their Friedrichshain studio to learn more about friendship and teamwork. During their long-standing cooperation, the two artists have established their own creative dialogue, in which they make use of various techniques, from classical oil painting to airbrush and embroidery on canvas, or watercolours.
Their works address the clichés of the German middle class with irony and a dash of glamour. Combining figurative elements in an associative way and interlacing them with abstraction, they create captivatingly contemporary imagery and a highly subjective mood between naivety and unease. They draw from all sources, like the Internet, pop culture, art, or cultural history. Whatever comes their way – be it a garden gnome, a mini golf course or a rollmops – by humorously reflecting on the reality of their own lives, they create surreal visual worlds that ignore the seemingly strict aesthetic rules of painting.
In reference to the "Bad Painting" movement of the 1980s, Albrecht/Wilke have written a manifesto that is as self-confident as it is ironic, and in which they enlighten us with a twinkle about what "Good Painting" is. They have become inseparable, and: they only ever fight when it comes to the last portion of lunch.
How did you two meet, and why did you decide to work as a duo?
We met at art school, at the HBK in Braunschweig, in 2012. Our collaboration has evolved out of our friendship. Since we already shared everything else, it was the consequential and logical step to also paint together. We can no longer imagine it any other way.
Your work mainly consists of painting on canvas. What does painting in a team look like? Can you describe your artistic process?
Every painting has a new approach. We have different ways of starting and continuing a painting. As a result, we are always facing new painterly problems that we need to solve. Most of the time, however, one of us starts and the other reacts. Sometimes we previously discussed it, and sometimes not. Some images are planned, and some emerge intuitively through the process.
You wrote a manifesto about good painting in which you state, “we create and destroy.” The part about creating seems clear—what are the destructive aspects of your art?
The manifesto was an ironic attempt to define (our) painting. It's part of our practice that we paint over one another’s work. You could call this destructive. For us, however, it is necessary and exciting since this is how our pictures evolve. We don't see this as destructive at all.
Which work by another artist has touched you the most?
“Plötzlich diese Übersicht” by Fischli and Weiss.
If you had to choose one dish for the rest of your lives: Mettbrötchen or toast Hawaii?
Mettbrötchen are simply a solid breakfast.
Please click HERE to browse through the available work by Albrecht/Wilke.
Albrecht/Wilke were born in 1992 in Berlin and 1991 in Stade. After acquiring their Fine Art diploma at HBK Braunschweg, they studied Fine Art with Prof. Anselm Reyle at HfbK Hamburg, where they graduated in 2019. They had solo exhibitions at Salon am Moritzplatz, Berlin (2019) and Museum Tropicana, Berlin (2020), and were part of shows at Kunstverein Uelzen, Uelzen (2017); Citygalerie Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg (2018); Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig (2020); Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2020); Kunstverein Arnsberg, Arnsberg (2020); Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2021); and Weserhalle, Berlin (2021), amongst others.