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Ernestine Ruben


Forms and Feelings


"Forms and Feelings" - The Mysticism of Man and Nature

Long before photography became Ernestine Ruben’s main interest, completely different areas of art, especially dance and sculpture, shaped her life and work. Her photographic work shows clear traces of this, although her interest is solely in cropping; detailed shots that only through exact limitation, render descriptions of forms, structures and feelings. By means of reduction and minimalisation, Ernestine Ruben finds her individual form of expression, which ranges from simple representation to total abstraction. Often only a second glance is able to unravel her composition of forms, her play with light and shadow of movement and counter-movement, of the human and the natural.
The exhibition “Ernestine Ruben – Forms and Feelings” at the FOTOHOF presents a limited period retrospective of the American artist with 25 b/w photographs. Ernestine Ruben’s photographic work has changed over the years – from sensual and descriptive drawings of human landscapes in natural light that evoke feelings, show structures, tell stories, create tensions; the clear, distinct statement of these body descriptions increasingly disappears in favour of depicted body deformations caused by light and water. What began with these photographs – the connection of the human body with natural elements – then practically becomes the dogma of her work. It seems as if Ernestine Ruben is trying to reverse the increasing separation of man from nature with these pictures, to place the human body back where it originated; photographic technique makes this archaic connection possible, with the different forms and results of these symbioses Ernestine Ruben surprises, confronts viewers: inside before “images alien to reality that have to be deciphered; details of man and details of nature, united into a mystical whole, photographs that in turn symbolise what Ernestine Ruben already creates with her body details that stood at the beginning of her photographic work: a glimpse into the glory of life.
Herman Seidl