Though a rack structure occupied by numerous versions and conditions of the Steiff baboon Coco - from unused to well-loved - blocks the view of the large format paperworks behind it, at the same time it directs the observer’s eye even more to what seems to take the little monkeys in the spell.
There are big drawings: On the left the figurative monotype "Emdiland" (Snuggy, Sidney, Angry, Harry and Miss Piccy),an insight into "Emdiland", is a close-up of the artist’s big collection of Steiff animals, drawn with a fast stroke in the screenprint screen.The title hints at the characters from "Meet the Feebles" (1989).On the right the more anonymous looking, silver shimmering graphite surfaces , each with a precisely placed coloured diagonal and barely visible gestural swipe tracks form a non-objective antipole.
With these works as well as with the whole presentation Emde goes back to his series "Swipes and Stripes". Here small Steiff animals - Jocko, Lulac, Witti, Putsi, Lora or other once-faithful playmates - directly sit in front of a two-dimensional picture surface. In the left area of the fair presentation you can see small format graphite works which resemble the big formats. The ear-lamp turns out to be an enlarged reproduction of one of monkey Jocko’s ears.
By juxtaposing "Coco" and "Emdiland" (Snuggy, Sidney, Angry, Harry and Miss Piccy) and "Without Title" (Surface facing light yellow, blue, orange) Emde draws the viewer himself to the middle. Like the stuffed animals he becomes a kind of repoussoir figure as in a Renaissance painting and so enters the artist`s contemporary visual world.
On various levels, he feels the significance of the constant companion and "helper in life" that once manifested as Steiff animal and are now omnipresent in the smartphone. The swipe tracks left by smartphone users on their screens which were still very significant in the "Swipes’n Stripes" series can only be guessed in the "Surfaces" - the gestural individual pointer is still present and breaks up the smooth and seemingly even shimmering surface. Philip Emde’s work strikes a clever balance between abstraction and figuration, and playfully incorporates the opposing elements of Minimal Art and gestural painting.