12 May - 11 June 2017
Sehnsuchtsort E D E N - Ort des Widerspruchs
Iris Bodenburg - Ausgewählte Werke
Living paradises invite you to refurnish yourself, gourmet paradises entice you with delicacies for the palate and wellness paradises promise nothing less than all-round physical renewal. The commercial game with people's unfulfilled longings is flourishing, and it flourishes all the more because the above-mentioned, cheap offers are not really able to satisfy these longings. Iris Bodenburg wants to save the rich content of the biblical narrative by avoiding the worn-out and often misused word of paradise and speaking instead of E D E N . The title of her exhibition reproduces the name of the mythical garden in four capital letters in a slightly alienating way. For the artist, however, E D E N remains a cipher for a place of longing that has been familiar to her since childhood and yet always lies ahead of her: experienced as permanently unattainable, it calls her anew to new beginnings and growth. The artist's paintings therefore tell of the act of creation itself as well as of the richness of what has been created. The breaking wave speaks of the elemental force of water, the lush vegetation of the variety of swaying flowers and glasses, as well as of the steadfastness of shrubs and trees. The bull and the horse bear witness to the dignity that the Creator has bestowed on animals. Man is called to preserve this diversity and to let it continue to flourish, towards an ever greater vitality. To this end, as man and woman, they must find their place in the diversity of life, recognise their appropriate task and set out to fulfil it. In her recreation of the wisdom contained in the biblical narrative, Iris Bodenburg also takes a look at the side of the garden that is commonly overlooked. Life in EDEN is also a life under the seriousness of decision. In it, the ambivalent quality of human freedom comes to the fore, a freedom that not only offers the opportunity for self-determined development, but also contains the possibility of missing oneself as a creature in a self-fixated unboundedness. Where this happens, the ideal habitat of the garden loses its magic. It transforms from a place of longing to a place of contradiction. The view of a torrero integrated into the arc of the exhibition, whose battle-hardened elegance entertains the spectators in the imaginary stands but brings death to the bull, shows the disturbed harmony of creation unadorned. The image speaks of a life order whose perversity grows out of the desire for self-expression and dominance. The act of violence perpetrated on the creature therefore becomes an indictment that even the magnificently adorned garb of the fighter cannot drown out. With her paintings executed in watercolour and mixed media, Iris Bodenburg invites us to face the wide spectrum of life and not to close our eyes to those contradictions that holiday, shopping and gourmet paradises hide. The fact that the mystery of life is preserved in spite of all danger, because God himself has still not lost the pleasure in his creation, is the obvious and yet secret message that the viewer can discover in the artist's works. This biblically attested, unbreakable promise shines through in the round of subjects to which Iris Bodenburg has devoted herself. However, even before the painter takes up her brush, the material she uses already indicates her trust in this promise. In addition to the watercolour paint, which is sometimes used strongly and emphatically, sometimes delicately and fleetingly, it is above all the painting ground that gives support to the colourfulness of all the garden scenes: Rare Himalayan paper, which is obtained from mountain daphne in an elaborate process and which, because of its durability, is usually used to record the sacred writings of Nepal.
Prof. Dr. Regina Radlbeck-Ossmann
Theologian, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg