Skadi Engeln, disturbed pictures


Skadi Engeln has been concerned with landscape since her intense experience of nature while walking the St. James Way in Spain in 2001. By now this traditional genre of painting has become a focal motive of her art. However, she does not depict landscapes realistically, but she creates intense colour effects as a result of her experience. She says she is especially inspired by transitions within nature, for example dawn, dusk and the changes of weather. To consciously experience changes in nature for her is a meditative process and an important preparation for painting. She takes photographs while she travels and then uses them to develop her landscapes. She describes the combination and reciprocity of photographs, memory and the act of painting as extremely important for the creative process.

Skadi Engeln’s Störbilder (Disturbed Pcitures), which she painted after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, show her new approach to landscape as an artistic subject: Sharp lines and fine vertical stripes disrupt the colourful panorama and the romantic depiction of nature. Already bordering on the abstract, her landscapes thus obtain another layer of meaning and open up a new world of associations. They remind us somewhat of our high-tech world with its transmitters, chimneys, antennae and radiation. Skadi Engeln’s vertical interventions are varied. Sometimes she develops them out of the colour palette of the painting. At other times she uses the complementary colours, with stark contrasts as a result. Sometimes she removes colour already applied so that we see a landscape as if through a curtain or veil. Those works have a special tenderness to them. Those abstract disruptive elements create contrasts which break harmonious colour scapes, open them and add something secretive and questioning to them.

Fukushima has shaken the world – and the catastrophe has prompted the artist to redefine her view of and on nature. Nevertheless she does not accuse, judge or fall into pessimism. She paints nature in all its beauty. And she paints nature in its disrupted beauty. In a very subtle way she thus offers us a real and contemporary view on nature in the 21st century.

Julia Fischer, Kunsthistorikerin (M.A.)