– Renate Hugel –
„The Ruin“ of Renate Hugel / From the series „Falls of the Folds“ / Mixed technology and collage with all sorts of papers / „Painting with Paper“ – 10,5 cm x 14,8 cm / 2000, Bremen (Germany)
There I am standing – in the midst of my collapsed being, the ruin! A collapse had happened with the consequence that my “world of that time” simply had been stopped! A painful cut in my previous life! – – – All this was behind now (2000) already approx. seven years. “The ruin“ had been my whereabouts still since this long time: “Being full of astonishment, I realized on my picture what kind of unconventional plants there are pushing themselves to the light. Plants – having been painted by my hand in an unconsciously state of mine. By turning my attention to my inner construction quite a number of seeds had been able to open. They always had been there – in the darkness of the unawareness – for certain spheres. I noticed at the same moment that I immediately had been in front of an arch and had been separated by a misty wall of the outside world now…“
I had thought over this, why I had had spontaneously the association „ruin“ at the sight of this picture. Because: You cannot find any ruins parts there! My “question asked inwardly“ had been answered promptly by my unconscious: I saw the ruins now in front of me on/in which I had played as a child. It must have been at the time, as I approx. had been 7 until 9 years old and already had lived in Bremen (for, the time before was my native town in München where I had well seen ruins, then, if we had gone to the center; entered I at that time never had them). My memory therefore declined to the first fifties – quite a number of years after the end of the war. And therefore wall and stone chunks hid under the “ruins flowers“: Years had gone to the country since end of the war. The reconstruction had not been in the position to be handled so fast. – However, where are the typical purply blossoming ruins flowers in my picture? I look for a parallel and recognize this parallel in blossoming spontaneously from flowers on the ruins, as also in my picture.
So this was my current inner situation: Since my total collapse during the first nineties a number of years had gone to the country by then. And my picture says to me: The construction work is not finished yet for a long time…
My world had caved in and this event had let my complete inner personality architecture collapse in itself – up to the early child time!
I had lost my aims. But what are my new aims? I had kept this question mark in the head all the years. In the year 2000 I had been right in the middle of the process „collecting fragments“. Those „inner rooms“, I in the past had never entered, I stayed mainly there now. I simply had to make the most of it newly every day again! My new “inner whereabouts“ had appeared to me like a “new world“: Meeting with my own “self”, which – in the healthy condition – is the engine of all action in the outer world! – – – But I had been “divided off” of my inner impulses of my “self” since my early childhood! I had – already in my early years – been stopped to this to grasp the world exclusively with the head, instead…
All my energy was absorbed by my personal reconstruction: Each ‘fragment‘ I had seized solved memories from or led me back to former situations. I had recognized the necessity for myself to judge these keepsakes newly now. This had been a painful consciousness-work, and had been hard for the still thin inner essence of my energies: Order, structure and meaning of the puzzle-parts cannot be joined together in the former, origin order or structure and meaning. Because, like it had been once, this then away broken structure had led to the collapse at long last. Therefore I have to judge all seized parts newly and to give them a new meaning and contents… And with this picture from the year 2000 I saw that there still are quite a number of areas, till now, I had not noticed. Areas on which new vegetation already is hiding the ruins being under it…
I experienced an inner yell!
For our symposium I intended to paint abstractly arranged large-sized pictures, carried by freely fluent energy. – – – For me, only remained this, to accept this inner situation of mine! – – – Because: Art does not hide! – Art uncovers!*
(* I have written this remark down spontaneously. It resulted as a logical consequence of my explanations in above. I am not sure whether this remark has already been formulated from somebody else. In any case it is a dependence on a known quotation of Paul Klee: „Art does not represent the visible, but makes visible“.)
My picture in front of me was not large-sized (like intended), but in the format of a postcard! I had, however, let my energy flow freely – nevertheless I was not happy with the result: It faced me up to the mirror in the result and „uncovered“ this what I simply did not want to admit. The collapse then had forced me to a de-acceleration with all power. And still I felt it now in the year 2000, this absolute inner feebleness! For, such a „re-construction of a person“ is a long and intensive work. All attention and much time are necessary for it! In the meantime, I had been able to establish my life in that way that I had enough time necessary for this work (see: Remark 2 at the end of this contribution). The common symposium-time had been “new ground” for all involved. In my situation I felt it as a “very pleasant whereabouts in the outer world“: Calmly I could devote myself to my painting and to creative actions “in my time” quite undisturbed. The special atmosphere had “carried” me…
While I had tried to do justice to my profession as teacher, like also – parallel to it – to numerous additional school-projects, I still had begun to paint.
I have chosen some picture examples from this phase:
Renate Hugel: Away / Watercolor painting crayons, water-soluble / 10,5 cm x 15 cm, 1991
This picture had arisen exactly at this time. It shows a „person“ who is apparently fast step away and does not at all take the time to regain self-consciousness. On the contrary! I still had promised new projects my cooperation. My interest for many topics around my profession, this had been my inner justification! But in fact, this multiple load collided violently with my perfection claim and with my tendency towards thoroughness. My decision had been certain: I wanted to end my obligations to all additional school-projects at the end of the school-year. But it should come differently…
When looking at this picture, it seemed to me as if my “energy trains” would hang down slackly. I had the feeling as if they had been divided off from the healthy, powerful circulation of the energies. I had lost my tension and did no longer feel an inner swinging – this power which defines a person in her innermost part. – The melody of my life had gone…
In the true sense I had been in this condition of an “inner being driven” already since my 18th year of life. For, I had run into trouble while trying to “save myself”. But, new problems had arisen in consequence! Completely horrified, I removed more and more from me myself! I avoided really feeling myself! I finally worked wonderfully if I “dazzled“ everything which I could not solve already as child. These circumstances did not allow me any consideration for myself! I had, however, kept the hope in the back of my head that everything gets good like this. But it did not become like this! Since some years I felt this very well „under the surface“, but more „in the half conscious room“. And I left this vague feeling there… “I finally must work and cope with my immense work quota. I have no time, ‘vague feelings to follow’ anyway there!“ With these words I describe my inner reaction of that time in the look back today. And so, it had been left at it: The dictation of request and fulfillment of duty continued the permanent “inner being away”, until body and spirit had forced a stopping the end!
Renate Hugel: Female-Clown – Breathless in front of new Shores / Mixed technology / 15 cm x 10 cm, 1992
This picture of 1992 shows that a strong high tide had grasped and drawn me into the depth and had washed me away, together with a crowd’s ruins parts – like a tsunami! „The waves closed almost over me! Breathless I achieved – just still punctual – the new shores which will allow me a breathing time…“ – These words I had written to this picture at that time.
The element water had become my partner. I painted with much, yes, with very much water through which the colors had come into flowing. By this my thoughts had come into flowing, as well, and they pointed me new “paths of thinking“… – – – My way of painting with much water had required it, though, to tape the edges of the postcard carton. With that I could hold the drawing carton in form. I then had intuitively decided to get the adhesive tape as a border. I often had not removed it therefore after drying as actually usual. I gained the impression later that each picture information had been like a small “plaster“ for me which protected my inner open wound a little bit…
Renate Hugel: In the Face of the Eagle / Mixed technology, 11,5 cm x 15 cm, 1991
“I take spontaneously a gesture of openness in the face of the eagle. I experience presence, tension and the capacity of reaction. – – – This is pure ‘consciousness of the body’! – – – The exact opposite of the body sensation which I am used to under ‚every day stress experiencing‘…“
With these words I had formulated my feelings to this painting in the year 1991. It is exactly this picture which had persuaded me to deal with Indian trains of thoughts (see to this: “Chronology of the Past History”).
Renate Hugel: On the Shores of the Crystal Lake / Mixed technology, 15,5 cm x 11,5 cm, 1992
To this I had written in 1992: „I had arrived below there at the crystal lake… – – – I climb in the morning up every day and carry out my everyday, necessary and sensible or rational tasks, in order to climb down again to my lake, as soon as possible… – – – Therefore I am torn between this, in what demands me on the outside, and mine inside. – – – My inner streaming, this wants to follow the contemplative inner show. A ‘being torn’a t which I threaten to break! …- – – I enjoy quiet, silence, depth, distance, there below…- – – I breathe everything in like the air for the life…“
Renate Hugel: My Pictures are gone!
„My complete grown system which had worked with the coding ‘high-performance claim‘ had collapsed in itself… – – – However, the problem is not the ‘high performance demand‘ for me at itself. All of us want and all of us have to be good! – – – The aims are the problem. – – – Those aims, defined by the way of thinking in the context of our culture, they are completely off our lives.“ (Written in 1992 to my ‘dark pictures‘)
I had done 51 paintings altogether and had arranged them to a “series of pictures which documents my way“. All of them had been arisen within the years1991 + 1992 and had been worked – except for few exceptions – in the mail card format (approx. 10 cm x 15 cm). I had the need later to present my “then former” colleagues these pictures together with my respectively short texts to this. With the help of the pictures I had replaced my language: Who right in the middle is of such a process as described above, cannot talk about it simultaneously. There where my “inner whereabouts” were at the moment, I had been away from the center in which „placed or summarizing trains of thoughts“ judge and communicate this…
I had given my picture sequence the title:
„From a person, moving in order to learn Dreaming“
On the following photos one can recognize how I had presented my paintings at that time:
Renate Hugel: „From a person, moving in order to learn Dreaming“ Installation of pictures, texts and shoe cartons / In the rooms of the district library Bremen – Vegesack, 1993
In this condition I felt actually “in need of protection“: Therefore, in my situation – directly after the collapse – I had dived into the security of that child time when I, self-sunken, had created my own worlds with those shoe cartons: Tiny, into itself perfect “miniature rooms” in which it had been possible for me to be totally „me-myself“. (At that time, I had called those rooms ‘dolls houses’“.) Basically, to build the dolls’ houses had already been an expression for this that I intuitively had undertaken something to avoid a ‘break-off‘of my own contact to my innermost. But, with the possibilities of a child my efforts had to remain attempts… And after all these years I refuged once again into those „inner withdrawals“… Because, all structure of my personality construction had collapsed. There had no more been a difference between „outside and inside“, what makes almost impossible communication. I had made the experience that the grown protection function of one’s ego has gone lost in such a condition. In result, this explains the retreat. Later, then I had developed to a “fragments collector“… The memory of those “inner withdrawals“ then had taken me to the idea presenting the 51 paintings together with 51 shoe cartons, as it can be above seen on the photos.
I have published my painted documentation – together with my spontaneous thoughts to each picture – in a book, later. The title was:
„BURNOUT – PAINTINGS FROM THE MIDDLE“
– From a person, moving in order to learn Dreaming“ –
This book had not been conceived by me as an advisor-book. I had rather documented – out of the middle of the actual event – how I had experienced this time of the collapse.
Renate Hugel: Photo from the year 2000, during the Symposium Time
Remark 1: I had heard the term „Burnout“ the first time when I had got the diagnosis made. Nowadays I frequently read from new illnesses with this diagnosis (at all events here in Germany). There are treatment concepts and auxiliaries for persons with the burnout – diagnosis like also prevention offers, meanwhile. The term “burnout” describes merely the phase after my experience in which I had painted my „dark pictures“. But in the front of that a long unconscious process which can have its origin already in the childhood always takes place. – – – I have gone my way “back to the life“ alone. The partners accompanying me were the water and the art. For, the art always brings the truth to the light! “My way” had lasted very, very long, though and I had had to cope with several relapses.
Remark 2: The possibility of being able to work on the “Free ARTSCHOOL Bremen” as of 1994 on was really a wonderful chance! I had worked with children there with the firm intention to give such an art lesson which I would have enjoyed enjoying as a child! I in fact had the idea to work with an art educational approach. I had myself, in once, worked in into the theme field which I had selected and worked out an action-oriented approach for the respective age group of the children. I invested all my creativity in these plans. – – – The cooperation with Brigitte Seinsoth, (deceased meanwhile) owner of the gallery B. S. in Bremen, and with the Japanese Fluxus artist Takako Saito had been particularly exciting. This artist, who had exhibited her high-priced art in almost all metropolises of the world already, was not afraid nevertheless of giving chance to the children to experience her art by acting! On the contrary, Takajo Saito wanted it; this is part of her art concept “Fluxus” which Brigitte Seinsoth then had made possible for the children of my courses in her gallery “At the Stone Cross”. Of course this had been totally according to my interest! The ideas of Takako Saito had inspired me to develop new tasks according to “Fluxus” for the next lessons with the children. – – – At these short insights into my “new work” I want to leave it here although would be there much to report. My gratitude in conclusion I dedicate to Edzard Hoenen and to Angelika Lages; they both had conceived and founded the “Free ARTSCHOOL Bremen”: They had made this free, creative and fulfilling work possible for me.… Renate Hugel
Correction: I HAVE NOTICED THIS FIRST AFTERWARD: The exhibition „From a person, moving in order to learn Dreaming“ (of 1993) had taken place in the gallery „pro art“. At this time the gallery still had been using other premises (than in the year 2000) in another district of Bremen. (Though, I do not have any photos of this first presentation „of my pictures with shoe carton-installation”). The presentation in the district library Bremen – Vegesack had taken place approx. 1996. Renate Hugel