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SWR-Atelieraufnahmen zur Ausstellung im Museum Boppard, 12/2023 (ARD/SWR Mediathek)


Ute Krautkremer – Rise and Fall Imitating nature through reproduction and doubly deceiving the eye?

It’s possible, if the outside becomes the inside. A wedge of bark can look like paper, especially if it’s very thin. Nature is continuously renewing itself. To grow, blossom and decay is the inherent cycle of all things that live and eventually die. Trees drop their leaves in the autumn and lose branches during a heavy storm. The bark, just like human skin which protects the whole entity, can flake. Ute Krautkremer (1958, Koblenz/Ehrenbreitstein, Germany) is fascinated by what the forest bestows. She makes paper impressions of trunks and branches. Trophies The impressions develop lives of their own. If you were to make a copy of something like a branch, then you’d first make a mould. Pour in the desired material, let it set, remove the mould and there you’ll have a clone, made of bronze for example. But for Krautkremer, the inversion of the exterior, including all its dips and rises, is the thing. By using papers as a kind of mask, the copy retains almost the full volume of the original. And then confusion takes hold of the viewer. You see natural shapes like sections of tree, but there’s something peculiar… The Baumtrophäen (2015) look like those pieces of bark and branches that are strewn all over the forest – every forest nowadays, since natural forestry is increasing and fallen trees and such are being left on the forest floor. The idea that it’s about trophies is not so far off: every child has taken something home from a walk in the woods (whether dragged there by parents or not). In Krautkremer’s work it is the impressions-made-tangible that live on, rather than the objects themselves. Mamas Nussbaum (2015) also fits in this category, a graceful hanging mobile of imprints/amputations of parts that once made up a walnut tree. The trunk floats on its side – again a reality that is askew, though a felled tree does sometimes still sprout again, reaching vertically towards the sky. Of a slightly different nature are the works from the series Spurensicherung, such as Baum 1-3 (2013). Here there’s a contrast between the imprint of part of a tree and the hard, geometric and bright white industrial form. It’s like a fossil under conservation – organisms themselves can petrify, but so can their counter-shapes, where the organism itself disappears. Preserving life without saving the original. This is, in essence, what Ute Krautremer is showing us. Her eye for nature makes a lasting impression.

Text, written about her work for the Rijswijk Paper Biennial in 2018 by Frank van der Ploeg