Tyra Tingleff
Imagine it Wet…
ChertLüdde, Berlin
17 September – 29 October 2022

ChertLüdde is pleased to present the paintings of Tyra Tingleff (b. Norway, 1984) in her first solo exhibition at the gallery titled Imagine it Wet

In the exhibition space, Tingleff’s immense fields of color twist into a glorious arrangement of pigments and shapes on towering canvases. Within each microcosmic work surge countless layers that glide into one heteroglossic surface. Through her careful and ardent selection of colors, Tingleff explores the material and emotive thresholds of oil paint. 

Wetness, as alluded to in the show’s title, is a crucial element in the creation of her complex compositions. Part of what is so captivating about Tingleff’s paintings is that they appear fluid even after having fully dried. Flooded with the imagined movement of a deeply laden canvas, her paintings offer twist endings and stray beginnings.

Over the course of her artistic career, Tingleff has developed her own, very corporal method of painting. Using unconventional and medium-bending approaches, oil paint is often poured directly on the large canvases. Within a certain window of time–dependent on the weather and climate–the paint moves and finds shape. 

“It is a moody thing,” Tingleff states in regards to her technique. Repeated multiple times between drying periods, the action of painting with a certain performative intensity causes excess oils to drip and spill on the studio floor, leaving the edges transformed by the oil-stained surface. This method of painting works both with and against the medium’s autonomous desire to flow.

The work I trap you so much (2022), is a particularly vigorous work with electric colors that surge on top of the linen canvas. Within this wild constellation, regained authorship is enacted by Tingleff’s pulling of an inverted paintbrush across puddles of solid colors. This brushstroke à rebours, an act that references art history while simultaneously engulfing and abandoning it, interjects the spreading of the material against the natural gravity of its course.  

Tingleff’s constant working and re-working positions each painting on the cusp of excess. Her process is a precariously balanced one, always at risk of tipping over into muddiness if the paint is worked “too much.” Pastel yellow mixes with cobalt blue and deep, royal purple in The source seems inexhaustible… (2022), resulting in a murky sandstone of gray-toned slivers. On the bounds of over- and under-mixing she explains, “A good painting needs to leave the studio raw.”1 The corners of the work which are left untouched by the paint’s unruly colors demonstrate how chance in abstract painting is moved by both control and submission. 

The final turn in each of Tingleff’s paintings is its title. With oddity in every phrase, Tingleff uses phonetic and linguistic intuition to oppose abstract painting’s affinity for the word “Untitled”.2 An unspooling of the mind, the names instead offer glimpses into the artist’s thoughts and feelings through poetic fragments or witty retorts. Still maintaining the ambiguity of nonfigurative painting, the titles and the works remain open for interpretation. Returning to the exhibition title, the wetness mentioned may also contain more slippery meanings–perhaps innuendos– that appear just beyond reach.

Imagine it wet… is an exhibition that scales beauty and ugliness, sincerity and humor on the tipping point of “too much.” Manipulating oil paint to its very extremes, the works offer a pliability against the all-too-sharpness of life, spilling towards a space for entangled meanings to coexist. We are reminded, after all, that “the source seems inexhaustible.”


  1. ‘Tyra Tingleff in conversation with Amy Zion’, in Of Course I’m Not Sorry, Mousse Publishing, 2022, p. 133
  2. Within the male-dominated genre of Abstraction, Tingleff noted a strong repetition in artists using “Untitled” to label works, which create further distance between the artwork and the audience.

Tyra Tingleff (b. 1984, Norway) lives and works between Oslo and Berlin. She graduated from the Royal College of Art, London, with a Master’s in Painting in 2013 and the National Academy of the Arts Bergen in 2008.

Typically kept to a portrait format, Tyra Tingleff’s expansive visual world is fluid, punk, unrestrained– limitless. Combining a manifold of techniques in her oil paintings on raw canvas, Tingleff balances vibrant shades and hues that refract like sedimentary layers. With an infinity of decisions coursing beneath each trace the paint leaves behind, Tingleff’s work operates at the spillage of foreground and background. Gathering various layers of pigment, Tingleff creates immense fields of color that twist and marble as they pool and sink together on the untreated fabric. Dripping and staining the linen, her smooth layers of paint appear molten, obscuring any points of reference the eye searches for. This manipulation of depth and her distinctive style allows Tingleff to stand out amongst the long lineage of abstract painters who came before her. By appealing directly to the viewer, the paintings invite one into an endless loop of deciphering, composing a febrile universe punctuated by the chance possibilities that went into each piece.

Photos by Andrea Rossetti