Anke Blaue or the land of chance


Anke Blaue entered the world of art through sculpture. She studied at the Düsseldorf Fine Arts Academy, and then, at the age of eighteen, travelled to Italy, where she set up in Pietrasanta, a town famous for its sculptors who live and work there. There she met Gonzalo Fonseca, the Uruguayan sculptor, and was ensnared by his constructivism, originating in Torres Garcia. During this formative period, Anke Blaue immersed herself in the master's knowledge of the constructivist universe and it was from this base that she would structure her work. In Pietrasanta, she drew and worked geometric figures in wood and stone with echoes of a primitivism strongly suggesting the beginnings of modern sculpture -Brancusi or Modigliani- and the structuralism referred to above.

Anke Blaue moved to Barcelona, continuing to work on drawing and sculpture, although she also painted Cezanne-influenced, dark-palette still-lifes together with her partner, the painter Bruno Fonseca, son of Gonzalo. During this period, our artist was a sculptor, as is shown by a black and white postcard which reproduces her work Limestone no. 4, exhibited at the Tom Maddock gallery in Barcelona: two forms assembled in a single piece and worked in stone, which condense the learning from a figurative culture which she felt deeply rooted to and would never abandon.

It was chance which changed the direction of Anke Blaue's work. The fortuitous discovery of some old pieces of cloth and paper which had formed part of a stage set, thrown out of a nearby workshop, made her reconsider all her work. She was fascinated by the colours, the texture, and the patina of time suggested by these numerous off-cuts, -fragments of huge stage backdrops- and she set about hoarding them in her studio in expectation of what they might suggest to her. She prepared the cloths on frames of different formats and started to arrange them on top, playing with them and forming collages. Geometrical forms began to appear and were gradually structured on the canvas in combination with the colours. Thus, from this urban archaeological finding and from a structuralist intent, Anke Blaue's work was conceived, which we all know from Anna Ricart's exhibition. What disconcerted us was the impossibility to classify, put a name to or label her work, and this disconcert was the key to her success: we, being used to so many imitators of other voices, had discovered a new and unique, and isolated and different voice. It surprised us and we liked it.

Once her first individual exhibition had finished, Anke Blaue continued to speculate in the area of chance in order to take another step forward. She believed that up until then she had provided the space (the doth) and let the old paper cut-outs organise themselves freely in a collage so as to build up her work. But now, chance should play the leading role in the whole process and her hand would simply guide the natural flow of things. Thus, she set out to search for old, different-coloured pieces of cloth, especially ochres and white hues, with their history clearly visible -tears, sewing work, holes seams coming apart-, the real scars of their experiences, and these rescued cloths would become, through her, pictures. The artist as a medium between the material and the piece of work, as a catalyser of the unexpected. The format is now predefined by the size of the cloths which the artist dyes with natural pigments. These are then joined to other cloths in geometric intent. They feature time, surprise, chance and play. It is precisely that Anke Blaue understands art as something reflexive, but at the same time something playful and she is constantly proposing ideas to the spectator, such as the folding screens which we use to divide up the space to our liking or the mobiles which allow us to find a myriad of different pieces of work from one single piece: creation within creation or the game that entices us to play.

The set of cloths on cloths covered in this individual exhibition by Anke Blaue can suggest a range of different images to us from a bird's-eye view of wheat fields or snowy high plateaus to something reminiscent of African tapestries. However, our artist only wanted to represent the object itself, without signals, without iconography, without any message but for that of the work itself, free to any interpretation that our imagination is capable of making; works that arise from the material and it is the material which must tell us what we are looking for. They are the result of meditation and chance and Anke Blaue proposes a way of our coming closer in a direct relationship, without hindrance, without even the light insinuation of her signature.


Artur Ramon. 2002

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