Leon McDermott, 'Raphael Danke: Seventh Heaven' (Metro Life, 11/10/2007)
At first, the works that make up this show – the Scottish solo show by Berlin-based Raphael Danke – appear a little slight: a series of black and white collages in the main gallery space are feather light things, and the sculptures in the second gallery space seem to be one-note riffs.
Hang about, though, and the collages and sculptures reveal themselves as rich in detail and intention. The collages, titled Fallen Angels, take their cue from ballet. Reworking photographs of Margot Fonteyn into odd, impossible figures, they’re obviously in debt to Man Ray’s surrealist photographs, but there’s a spectral grace to these figures; limbs appear from bunches of fabric, the illusion of movement arises from shadows. There’s something ghostly about these disembodied limbs and half-bodies.
Danke’s sculptures are variations on the theme of the matryoshka doll. The smaller of the two takes the standard Russian doll shape and has each smaller iteration carved into a pair of clasped hands; this gesture towards solidity (or solidarity) undermines the solid structure itself; where before the seal is an unbroken circle, now it’s a tenuous couple of inches on either side. Loggia Of Mind is another series of objects within objects: six cupboards, each able to fit inside the next size up. These are each thresholds into another place; Narnia or the subconscious, take your pick.