Raedecker’s images are hand-embroidered onto washed-out grounds – all shadows, dust and pale ill light – that sprout occasional hairy clumps of fibre, or bear deep and fraying puncture wounds. Here and there, we encounter a paint drip, or its stitched double. As peripheral as they might seem, these meticulous, labour-intensive pictorial elements are key to understanding the artist’s playful way with temporality. A drip, of course, occurs in a split second, and is the product of accident or chance, while replicating it in thread is a long procedure that requires a measure of planning. Raedecker here operates in a similar way to the protagonist of Tom McCarthy’s novel Remainder (2005), who squanders a fortune reconstructing vaguely remembered scenes from his past. Time – and with it history and narrative – is held still so that form might be obsessively, and perhaps excessively, captured. If this is to some degree a joke about intention, its humour is deepened when we consider it in light of the traditional idea of the painterly genius, producer of single, unrepeatable brush strokes (the crinkled line of a smile, the fleck of light in the eye) that make the canvas come miraculously alive. To stitch something is to repair it, to give it a longer life. Back when the word genius was spoken without caveat, who might have thought painting, of all things, would be approached with needles and thread?
T. Morton, ‘Patterns of Purpose’, in Michael Raedecker, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler and Holzwarth Publications, 2010, pp. 5-6