We are in complete accordance with the artist if we see in these pictures first of all a childlike playfulness. „For me children are the great masters of art,“ Ellen De Elaine says. „During my creation process, I put myself into their informality, authenticity and impartiality. For me making art is like playing.“ Accordingly, her works are full of scribbles and scrawls; stick figures, dolls and clowns populate the scenery. As in a cheerful nursery, everything is decorated with the most beautiful, brightest colours.

However, this kids’ world has its dark sides, too – our fairy tales know an abundance of examples. Accordingly, Ellen DeElaine’s beautiful world is full of pitfalls. A doll, for instance, cute as it may be, reminds us, in its compiled structure, of Frankenstein’s monster. A girl’s face evokes a horror film figure, such as Carrie. A caterpillar with its broad grin turns into a snarling bloodsucker, while a stick figure becomes the rattling skeleton of death.

With a simple twist the artist transforms an ordinary backyard scenery, where the markings for the hopscotch „heaven and hell“ are drawn on the pavement: she turns the picture upside down, and all of a sudden the sweet kid’s face turns into the head of the devil himself. Stairs lead to a dark nowhere, curtains have something to hide, heavy beams and thick chains are menacing, and colourful paint spots might just as well be blood splashes.

In technical aspects Ellen is very well-versed, she plays with a variety of pictorial representations. For instance, she combines deep spaces with the flatness of line drawings and lettering; occasionally it is hard to discern if a graffito is drawn on a wall within the pictorial space, thus being a picture within a picture, or if it stretches right across the surface of the canvas. The collage principle is applied so skilfully that often it must remain undecided whether an object is painted or added as the real thing. And how artfully the rolled wood chips turn into a pretty coiffure!

With her partner Mike MacKeldey, Ellen also creates cooperative works. The piece presented here, Ema was a boy, contains some most sophisticated illusions, e.g. paintings standing as objects inside the painted space. Among them is Henry Raeburn’s Reverend Robert Walker Skating (1784) from the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, a salute to Mike’s Scottish ancestors.

For Ellen’s collaborative exhibition “Bääääng!!!” with Mike MacKeldey please see: Kunstverein Pforzheim


1982 born in Bedburg
2004-11 study of painting at the Art Academy Düsseldorf, with Prof. Rissa, Prof. Markus Lüpertz, Prof. Reinhold Braun
2010 Master student graduation

Several residencies in Spain, Latin America and Italy

Lives and works in Berlin since 2012


exhibitions (selection)

2016 Bääääng!!!, Kunstverein Pforzheim  (solo)
Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris
2015 Somos savia, MACsa – Múseo de Arte Contemporáneo, Salta, Argentina (solo)
La mani d‘ abruti l Galerie Da-End, Paris (solo)
Sightzeichen, Galerie Klose, Essen
Schlaraffenland, HilbertRaum, Berlin
blind date, HilbertRaum, Berlin
2014 Schlaraffenland, Alte Börse Marzahn, Berlin
KunstRaum Riedberg, Frankfurt
Der Hahn ist die Uhr, Galerie Kaiser & Cream, Wiesbaden
Weibsbilder, Galerie Klose, Essen
Junge Kunst, Evelyn Drewes Galerie, Karlsruhe
2013 Junge Positionen, Evelyn Drewes Galerie, Offenbach
Berliner Liste, Galerie Klose
KIAF Korea International Art Fair, Galerie Klose
2012 Vorsicht Schweisshund, Evelyn Drewes Galerie, Hamburg (solo)
Salon der Gegenwart, Hamburg
Made in Germany, Galerie Evelyn Drewes, London
Art Karlsruhe, Galerie Supper/ Galerie Gegenwart
Auf den Hund gekommen, Galerie Klose, Essen (solo)
Zwerg Rasas Hazenfuss, Galerie Evelyn Drewes, Berlin (solo)
2011 Wunderland, Villa de Bank, Enschede. (solo)
KIAF Korea International Art Fair, Galerie Klose
Art Karlsruhe, Galerie Bengelsträter
Junge Kunst, K20, Düsseldorf
Düsseldorf German Art, gallery space, Jeanbok, Korea
Gehen eben fort essen, Fördergesellschaft Zeitgenössischer Kunst, Essen
auf ab und zugeflogen, Galerie Gegenwart, Karlsruhe. (solo)
Art Innsbruck, Galerie Klose