In my paper works I explore transformations. The recent water colour paintings show me under the transformative influence of plant shadows. In the Melusine paintings I retell the transformation of a woman into a water creature. In my paintings after a shamanic ritual, I show how shamans incorporate other worldly figures in their rituals. I seek situations in which the body is merging in harmony with all that is around.
Shadows – Abruzzi, 2021
series of water color paintings on China paper
The summer of 2021 I spent in the Abruzzese mountains where I worked in collaboration with Antony Hequet and Rewilding Apennines (see >Projects). I lived in a borgo that is located in a natural reserve. Paths of humans and animals lead directly from the borgo into the woods.
In the beginning I followed my explorations that I started in Umbria the previous year: the strong Italian sun, and the colours that I found in the shadows. That changed when I started to observe the light and shadows cast on me in the forest. The sun light breaking through the crown of leaves is green and draws light circles on my body. Again and again I was fascinated to observe, how the light dots merged with the round shapes of my breast, shoulder or cheek.
Shadows – Umbria, 2020
series of water colour paintings on China paper,
In Umbria I discovered new plants that cast their shadows with the bright Italian sun on my face: leaves of olives, walnut, vine and grass.
Shadows – Kuhlhausen, 2019
series of water color paintings on China paper, different sizes
Its the forth year of my summerly exploration of shadows on my face. I created some larger formats, that include the upper part of my body.
Additional I painted water colors from images taken from works for my video “Do Flowers have Culture?”. See >Video
Shadows – Kuhlhausen, 2015/16/18
3 series of water colours and drawings on various papers
In 2015 I started to become interested in observing shadows on my face while I was waiting for my father to die. It was summer and I spent one week in a garden looking at plants that were either in blossom or had already fruits.
I started an examination of myself, my face, that looks so similar to the face of my father, my body, which gets older, and the shadows of plants that hit me. I took photos with my smartphone camera and translated them into modest pencil drawings.
2016, one year after my fathers death, I spent again some days in the garden. Without having it planned, my interest in the shadows returned. That year I reduced the drawings to black and white pencil drawings and concentrated on the gradient shadows.
2018, I stayed in the same garden but in another month with different flowers and fruits, I discovered the fruit stand of leek. I started to paint with water colour.
Melusine – for Gyre Project, 2017
series of water color on paper, 30 x 30 cm
In the old-french story “Histoire de Lusignan” of Jean d´Arras, written 1387-1394, the water woman Melusine marries Raimond de Lusignan. The one condition of this marriage is, that Melusine stays for herself one day a week. On this day she takes her bath – and, under the influence of her element water, she transforms into a water creature (a snake or dragon). The transformation needs to happen secretly without her husband to know about her abilities.
Raimond becomes restless about this secret day of his wife and breaks the pact by poking a hole with his sword in the wooden door(!). Through the hole he observes the transformation of his wife. Appalled by this discovery, he flees. Melusine takes the consequence of his betrayal and leaves her husband. In all her serpent glory she jumps off the tower of the castle. Taking with her the good fortune that she brought into the family of the Lusignan.
There are not so many stories with such a district image of transformation of a human into an animal or mythic being in European tales and stories. The Undine/Melusine story is one prominent example that is spread across Europe.
In my water colours I am interested in the very first moment when Melusine is in touch with the water. Her skin changes gradually from red to orange to green. Then her limbs change form. In the beginning I gave her a frog like shape, a bit ugly to contrast her previous beauty. Later I gave her more attributes of water creatures, saurian legs, a fish tail and finally wings of a dragon.
In the end she slips into the water in which she is agravic – in her element.
Shamanic Ritual – Soul and Dance, 2016
series of water colors on paper, 42 x 59,4 cm
During my residency in Korea in 2015, shortly after my father died, I had the privilege to attend a shamanic ritual. The ritual was for the transition of the soul of a deceased dancer. It started in the morning and lasted 10 hours, the location was outside of Seoul. The ritual consisted of different sequences.
After my return to Berlin I painted water colours after the photos I took during the ritual. I was fascinated by the beauty and theatrical setting of the sequences.
In this segment of the ritual the shaman incorporates the deceased and goes finally into the realm of the dead. She is doing so by breaking through a long band of textile that is stretched by assistant shamans. By cutting this bridge to the living the shaman symbolizes the end of the connection between the living and the dead.
Two paintings show segment of the ritual in which an old dancer danced a solo – I guess similar to the solos the deceased dancer had been performing…
Shamanic Ritual – Collector of the Dead, 2016
series of water colors on paper, 24 x 32 cm
In this segment of the same ritual, a male shaman performs outside the shrine. We see the so called Collector of the Dead. These collectors are wild and greedy beings, delegated from the netherworld to accompagny the dead on their way. Here the Collector of the Dead, arrives, sits down on the floor and consumes uncontrollable food, drink and cigarettes which at the same time he is throwing around. After an ecstatic dance he collapses. Only after some negotiations about the provisions of the journey he calms down.