Elizabeth Ravn
Ledgers & Dwellers
Bungalow, Berlin
17 September – 29 October 2022

Bungalow is pleased to present Ledgers & Dwellers, an exhibition by Berlin-based American painter Elizabeth Ravn (b. 1994, Brooklyn).

Frank and sympathetic, at times voyeuristic, the works of Elizabeth Ravn portray the lives of strangers and loved ones, plants, animals, interior dwellings and urban topographies. For the exhibition Ledgers & Dwellers, the artist focuses on the continuously morphing terrain of Berlin and its inhabitants. Exuding movement and vigor, Ravn’s compositions appear to be in a state of constant mutability – temporal scenes marked by seasons, time of day and familiar architecture. Like Edward Hopper’s ambiguously evocative quotidian landscapes, these paintings invite the projection of our own subjective narratives by virtue of their relatable un-remarkableness. Yet they are sometimes tricks on depth and perspective, requiring a closer look in order to comprehend the reality of the situations at hand.

In the exhibition, construction sites and scaffolding serve as studies of division and compartmentalization, in contrast to the more organic forms and gestural touches Ravn uses to paint figures and landscapes. Exteriors are coated in shells of new structures; insides are scraped out and littered surrounding the site. House Plant, 2022 observes a neglected bush outside the artist’s apartment building. The shrub grows wild in relation to the metal bars and red plank surrounding it, exposing the permeability of façades in Ravn’s settings. In Blue Hour, 2022, a group gathers outside of a corner shop, colloquially known as a späti, in Berlin’s Neukölln neighbourhood. Angled downwards towards the group, who are seated around a coffee table on benches fashioned from beer crates, the work’s perspective is framed like a living room scene, suggesting a closed space despite being outdoors.

For Bungalow, Ravn constructs a wall dividing the exhibition space into smaller intimate rooms. The wall is truncated, offering fragmented glimpses of paintings and the detached heads of neighboring visitors– an arrangement that reflects upon the close ties between space and self. Echoing this scenario is one of the works in the show, Stationary, 2022, a self portrait set in a bathroom on the Intercity Express train. The artist peers into a mirror where three sticker decals of vases are lined up along its edge. The flattening of spatial planes in the painting creates the illusion of objects on a table, almost like an improvised still life. This inquisitive gaze of looking at oneself, while also out towards the viewer, encourages us in turn to take advantage of this altered privacy and peek over to the other side.

Elizabeth Ravn was born in 1994 in Brooklyn, NY, and received a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL in 2015. Ravn moved to Berlin in 2017, quickly becoming part of the local art community, working with various artists as a studio assistant, as well as participating in exhibitions organized in project spaces and artists run spaces in the city.

Frequently collaborating with her partner, Norwegian artist Ellinor Aurora Aasgaard, she participates in various initiatives that focus on the communal aspect and exchange between artists.

Her practice is primarily focused on painting, often taking friends, family and collaborators as subjects, drawing from her public and private life. In recent years Ravn has exhibited at Kinderhook & Caracas, Berlin; Kjøpmannsgata Ung Kunst (K-U-K), Trondheim; SETAREH, Berlin; Pina, Vienna, and Crybaby, for Project Space Festival Berlin. Her work will be shown in the coming months at SOX (solo) and KINDL Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin. 

Photo by Andrea Rossetti.