The British artist Mark Alexander first visited the Gemäldegalerie when he moved to Berlin in the year 2000. He was struck by Rembrandt’s painting of Jacob wrestling the Angel. He has described the theme of his work at that point as a dialogue between anxiety and strength – a struggle for individuation, for resolution – in a world where belief is unstable and meaning is mercurial. Jacob‘s wrestling with God is paradigmatic, a universal theme. Life has always been awesome and overwhelming whether in ancient Israel, 17th-century Amsterdam, or contemporary Berlin. At the same time, Alexander questioned how that metaphysical struggle should be framed in a world without faith in a divine creator. Who do we struggle with now? For the artist perhaps it's ourselves.
Mark Alexander Wrestling with Angels, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin 2016
Wrestling with Edges, Frame Blog : Interview with Mark Alexander