German Artist Sonja Rychkova Celebrates Chicano Culture in ‘Smile Now Cry Later'

A new solo exhibition on view at Ruttkowski;68 in Cologne.

Art
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German artist Sonja Rychkova is showcasing a new solo exhibition at Ruttkowski;68 in Cologne. Born in Darmstadt to Russian parents, Rychkova’s work probes into the immigrant experience and the shape-shifting concept of home.

In Smile Now Cry Later, the emerging artist revisits friends during her travels to the underprivileged Mexican-American neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Like vague memories floating back to the surface of the mind, Rychkova’s figures are hollow and transparent, appearing like ghosts, as she creates this effect by thinning her oil paints with turpentine. The thematic base of her show, and practice thus far, has been a survey into “ghettos” — seeking to dismantle stereotypes associated to marginalized communities.

Rychkova recently travelled to LA and visited the Chicano culture of Montebello Park, taking note of the people, fashion, and lowrider culture synonymous with Southern California. “The people and families were so welcoming and warm. . . street was packed with lowriders, people waving the Mexican flag from the window, vehicles jumping while driving and taking their space in a very proud way,” Rychkova recalled. “Lowriders are art, personal expressions of pride and rebellion. They unite people and strengthen the community for people from all different types of backgrounds.”

Each of the lucid pink portraits are a celebration of the diversity and pride of Chicano culture. For those in Cologne, the exhibition will be on view until June 29, 2024.

Ruttkowski;68
Lichtstraße 8-24,
50825 Köln, Germany

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