English Version - Energieträger zwischen Himmel und Erde

Energy Conductors between Heaven and Earth

They meander like lines drawn on a water surface or rise to the sky like the erratic flight paths of drunken insects: whole swarms of polymorphic signs appear before our eyes. These magically unburdened, drifting signatures exude an inherently fleeting, metamorphic, dancing quality. At times, one seems to recognise a movement which has been driven all the way into a forth dimension. Vaguely indicated linear forms rise up from a background of nebulous blue or dark cavernous gloom, while more significant lines in the foreground seem on the wondrous verge of trickling away into the depths of transparent layers. Anja Verbeek von Loewis’ ability to create these suggestive, constantly oscillating spatial planes on the flat surface of her canvas as well as on paper, is one of the outstanding qualities of her work.

Although Anja Verbeek von Loewis found certain analogies in Indian, Japanese and Arabic calligraphy in her early years, her abstract vocabulary has continually developed to become a completely independent, subjective idiom. A rather ethereal series, which Anja Verbeek von Loewis initiated in consequence of a journey to India in 1994, is titled ‘Credo’, a motto that is also ‘inscribed’ in her tondo formats. Another complex of works – generally more earthy and devoted to an impasto technique – reveals crude structures, distortions formed by an alchemically processed substance made from pure pigment, to which she occasionally adds leaf gold. Embedded in the layers of painting, as if submerged in the archaeological lava of history, one can find various organic materials such as stems, ginkgo leaves, rose petals, as well as glittering river sand, Tuscan soil or stone particles from Roussillon, which initially served Anja Verbeek von Loewis as sparks in her creative process. In order to ensure their sustainable conservation, she encases her natural found objects in a specially developed encaustic mixture. At first sight one could think that this transcendentally lustrous “Aurora” painting lies poles apart from her atmospheric calligraphic drawings. However, there is an invisible connection that forms a strong bond between both sectors of abstraction: it is the dualism between the elemental force of gravity and the cosmic view to heaven, which artistically conciliates the introspectively mirrored, structuralist world view. Anja Verbeek von Loewis describes this moment as being, “when the paintings achieve a seismographic quality, when I succeed in bringing them to life, in that they actually breathe with a certain vibration.”

Goethe’s concept of Metamorphosis comes to mind. Anja Verbeek von Loewis’ process of distilling something like archetypes in her art, seems related to the German poet’s scientific reflections on the idea of an “Urorgan” (primitive organ) or an “archetypisches Organ” (archetypal organ). According to Goethe, primitive organs are in their abstract form neither purely internal, in the sense of being subjectively graspable, nor are they external, i.e. objectively visible, but require a certain contemplation in both states of being. In a third body of works, a series of watercolours titled “Inbilder”, Anja Verbeek von Loewis manifests human figures, inspired by the strong impression the cave paintings of Altamira in Spain made on her in her childhood. Her rhythmically elated figures and dancing silhouettes, often winged beings, mirror primordial human forms wandering in the flow of time between the past and future.
Verbeek von Loewis sums this up as being “…like the expression of a person’s memory, the outline of a clear inner image, an energy.” And continues: “This complex chord has been liberated from any personal traits, which also usually includes faces.”

The only reliable constant in life, nature and art, is change. One needn’t adhere to a particular theory or be especially spiritual to find this law projected in Verbeek von Loewis’ works – in a whirring as well as competent manner. Without ever employing cinematic material, she sets her existentially determined, abstracted forms into dynamic vibrations. She even actually creates a kind of fluidum, where the raw earth peels away or grainy sections of the pigment material seem about to flake off vulnerably like the layers of an old wall. Anja Verbeek von Loewis consciously incorporates valuable mineral materials, such as pure gold, thus pointing out the intrinsic value of every single pictorial object. As energy sources with a powerful aura, they serve as pieces of evidence for the great indivisible organism of the (extra-)terrestrial world.

Birgit Sonna
translated from German by Anna Stüler