“I cannot single out a specific painting or group of paintings that bring me pride. Instead, it’s my consistent and dedicated work in the studio that fosters continual growth and improvement.”
Ulrike Hahn: A Journey in Art and Inspiration
Ulrike Hahn was born in Zwickau and was raised in close proximity to the Robert Schumann House. During her childhood and adolescence, she was exposed to a rich tapestry of musical influences and was also inspired by drawing and painting, owing to a visit to an exhibition with her father. This exhibition served as a catalyst for her artistic pursuits.
Following her professional training, which included a preliminary study in fine arts and the birth of her son, Ulrike Hahn commenced her fine arts studies at the Weissensee School of Art under the tutelage of Dieter Goltzsche in 1991. In 1996, she was awarded an Erasmus scholarship to study in Salamanca, Spain, where she intensively explored the intricacies of light and color in southern Europe. To this day, color remains an integral aspect of Ulrike’s paintings. Her artistic approach is influenced by classical modernism, as she strives to capture the immediate, sensual experience and is guided by her creative impulses.
Her artistic methodology encompasses a rhythmic oscillation between the road – remote destinations and her home base. This can also be understood as a dichotomy between inward and outward perspectives. Through her travels to yearned-for locations, primarily in the summer months in the southern region of Provence, France, she cultivates sketches, drawings, and watercolors that eventually mature into painted memories within her studio. These works embody a synthesis of apparent contradictions such as lavishness and simplicity, serenity and power.
Balancing Chaos and Calm: The Figurative Paintings of Ulrike Hahn
Berlin holds a prominent place in her creative process. The city offers all the stimulants necessary for an artist to thrive: art, culture, dynamic activity, perpetual change and temptation. In contrast, her serene studio located in an industrial area serves as a retreat where she primarily focuses on figurative painting, but also explores other subjects such as landscapes, interior spaces, and still-life arrangements.
The figure paintings by Ulrike Hahn often depict female subjects in the midst of everyday life, capturing them in moments of stillness as if frozen in time. This serves as a counterpoint to the fast-paced hustle and bustle of contemporary Berlin. Through their gestures, facial expressions, and postures, these figures communicate their individual states of mind and invite the viewer to participate in their inner lives. The constructed realities portrayed in these paintings offer snapshots of a moment and evoke associations, allowing for personal interpretation. Each figure’s posture reflects their unique situation while also symbolizing universal human emotions and experiences such as vulnerability, doubt, pride, and strength. The paintings go beyond mere representational depiction and instead delve into references to meaning, serving as testimonies to identity and personal perception in the present day.
From Somber Tones to Radiant Light
The still lifes and interiors, meanwhile, offer glimpses into the inner world, emphasizing the contrast between permanence and transience. These paintings radiate tranquility and intimacy and serve as a symbol of stability in a rapidly changing world. They complement the figure paintings through their quiet intensity and the sensuality of their use of color. The color expression in the still lifes finds a parallel in the variety of moods and feelings depicted in the figures.
Initially, Ulrike Hahn’s paintings were characterized by somber tones and moods, reflecting the atmosphere of the East Berlin art scene influenced by the “Berlin School.” During her study stay in Spain, she had the opportunity to imbibe the radiant light of the south, which resulted in a shift in her palette towards brighter, more luminous hues. This light-filled aesthetic was incorporated into her landscapes, painted en plein air, as well as her figure paintings, created in her Berlin studio. The use of color became increasingly pronounced in her works, imbuing her motifs with presence and emphasizing the atmosphere of the piece. In addition to her paintings, abstraction has also gained prominence in Hahn’s oeuvre, manifested in her independent drawings and watercolors. These abstractions serve as a reaction to her observations and experiences, and are a means of condensing form and finding deeper meaning in her work. The abstractions are a symbol of her emotions and perceptions, rather than a deliberate stylistic choice. Over time, Hahn’s paintings have evolved into a unique artistic expression, embodying the power of her personal experiences and conveying her artistic vision.
Exploring the Intrinsic Nature of Ulrike Hahn’s Artistic Pursuits
It is challenging to pinpoint a specific painting or series that elicits a sense of pride for Ulrike Hahn. Instead, it is the sustained and fervent work in her studio that allows for continuous growth and development. The resulting shifts in her artistic vision serve as evidence of her existence, encompassing moments of uncertainty and vacillation between abstraction and realism, which consistently generates a dynamic tension in her paintings. These aspects serve as the driving force behind her continued creative pursuits.
Her ultimate aspiration is to maintain a steady practice of painting and drawing and secure a permanent workspace.
The intrinsic nature of Ulrike Hahn’s oeuvre reflects the artist’s intimate connection to her craft. Overcoming artistic obstacles necessitates perseverance and depth, and painting provides stability and continuity in her life, opening up a wealth of possibilities for diverse perspectives on existence.