Painting like a poet

How the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann is a source of inspiration for Berlin-based artist Ute Wöllmann.

On Ute Wöllmann’s studio wall there is an A4 sheet with lines of poetry from Ingeborg Bachmann (1926-1975). The visual language of the Austrian writer works as a catalyst, setting in motion the process of painting.

Metaphor
Ute Wöllmann painted Für mich wird keine Wiese zum Bett (120 x 160 cm) in 2013. The line comes from the poem Entfremdung, written in 1948. Ute Wöllmann does not represent the alienation itself. Instead she was triggered by the image of a grass carpet that is so soft that it can serve as a bed. The painting shows, both in color and in appearance, the sensual experience evoked by the poetry.

Rhythm of nature
Just like Bachmann, Ute Wöllmann is inspired by nature. The landscape, or more precisely the plant world, is the starting point for many of her paintings. She is not interested in the outward appearance of blossoms, twigs and shoots but in the rhythm that these forms evoke.

Mich Engel schön im Engelhut besucht

Ute Wöllmann: Mich Engel schön im Engelhut besucht, oil on canvas 120 x 160 cm € 4410

Excited and light
There is usually little left of the gravity of Bachmann’s tone in Ute Wöllmann’s works of art. Mich Engel schön im Engelhut besucht (120 x 160 cm) is bright and light, the artist experiments with both oil paint and pastel.

Die Vogelnester stürzen aus die Ästen

Ute Wöllmann: Die Vogelnester stürzen aus den Ästen, oil on canvas 65 x 80 cm, € 2460

In one stroke
Wöllmann likes to work in alla prima technique, a method in which a layer paint is put on the preceding one while it’s still wet. A technique that requires that the painting is set up in one go. On a thickly applied layer she pours new strokes of diluted paint. They make their way between the underlying paint strokes.

Feucht fall'ich aus den Blüten

Ute Wöllmann: Feucht fall’ich aus den Blüten, oil on canvas, 30 x 50 cm, € 820

Black oil dots
Wöllmann also looks for the experiment and the risk in the watercolor work Feucht fall ich aus den Blüten (30 x 50 cm), based on Bachmann’s early poem Hinter der Wand. Here too she combines two materials that are difficult to assemble: watercolor and oil paint. The delicate purple, which clearly refers to blossoms, contrasts with the brutal black oil dots that deprive the work of its sweetness.

See more works of Ute Wöllmann

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