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Fascination of vitality

Text by Hans-Peter Miksch

Ute Vauk-Ogawa’s works unite sensuality and rationalism, objective and subjective means of expression. Her installations of three-dimensional serial objects often bear traits of plant or animal like beings. While provoking faint mythological memories and a broad range of associative links, they combine a set of very clear and decided compositional elements. The fibre of hemp and different polymeric substances are frequently the material basis of the artist’s work, but she also uses wire, paper and pigments to create her fantastic creatures. Her inspiration often originates in her intensive relation towards nature and its phenomena, though in her recent works there is a shift towards a more abstract level of expression.

One of the essential features hereby seems to be the equilibrium of deeply perceived feelings of amazement and strangeness towards the surrounding world. Just as we are strangers to ourselves from time to time, so much more is the external world. Reflecting on the effects that this feeling of unfamiliarity can provoke, one of the answers can be vitality. What are the forces that maintain life, that enforce adaptation to the circumstances, what makes evolution search for new features of life and unknown life patterns? This unknown vitality, so called creativity, evokes curiosity.

In her serial installations of partially threatening creatures, Ute Vauk-Ogawa finds bewitching means to express this curiosity. By the help of her staging the spectator is led to intuitive insights which provoke fundamental questions about nature, about life (a term which can actually only be thought of as being plural – just as the artist usually presents multiple objects in space), about art and the art of asking questions and offering expressive answers to these questions simultaneously. Questions about the fascination of vitality with which we can be confronted all of our life’s time if we are ready to open our eyes.


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