Alfred Ullrich
09. September - 04. November 2011
Alfred Ullrich, a German Sinto who is known as “Fredi” among the Sinti and Roma, lives on a farm not far from the former concentration camp at

Dachau. His mother survived the National Social- ist dictatorship and internment in numerous con- centration camps, while many other relatives of the artist were victims of the Holocaust.

Ullrich employs a variety of techniques in his art. Figurative drawing, monotype, etching, but also experimental print techniques, abstraction, and performance practices: all of these are found among his expressive resources. For Ullrich, both the personal element and the history of the Sinti are ever-present. Recently, he has been working on a series which does not seem to thematize his family’s history in any obvious way. Seemingly traditional ornamental patterns enter into a richly contrasting interchange with uniform grids of colour. The severity of these lattice forms is somewhat softened by the almost mawkish colours, while the playfulness of the ornamentation is restrained by the neutral white. The artist fills the empty pictorial space with forms that enter into lively competition with each other.

In Ullrich’s hands, even found objects can become works of art: using pulverized beer coasters, for example, he creates circular reliefs with delicately structured surfaces. These are then covered in white oil paint and glazed with beer. For other works, he uses beer cans which have been crushed flat by the tires of automobiles. He then presses the cans into lead plates to create depres- sions, and uses the plates to produce prints in deep blue tones. In light of such artistic practices, the monotypes which he exhibits in a caravan seem almost traditional by comparison, taking on the appearance of reminiscences of bygone times. It was in just such a caravan that “Fredi” lived until he was nine years old.