The Poetry of Simplicity .
Ulrike Böhme

Hannelore Fehse paints the buildings of the Swabian Alb.

SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL – that’s what she calls her exhibition in…

Just beautiful?
The pictures appear simple at first, since HF has mastered the art of reduction. To reduce, to understand and grasp what could be. To understand the omission of non-essentials and to focus on what needs to be expressed; this is abstraction.

Consequently, HF’s paintings are beautiful but not in a trivial sense. On the contrary, the beauty of these paintings is complex yet austere. They tell the story of the power of plainness and the poetry of simplicity. They are intrinsically peaceful. The interaction of shape and colour displays harmony in perfection. But how is harmony in perfection achieved?

The Japanese call it Wabi Sabi. A tea cup finally obtains perfection by the slight imperfections in the glaze or by signs of frequent use. The imperfections and the slight distortion of superficial harmony achieve a true equilibrium and thus, a touching beauty.

HF’s work is simplified by reduction. It is beautified by its refractions and it is eloquent in a way that everyone who experiences this region will understand.

The farm houses of the Swabian Alb do not possess the magnificence of homesteads in Lower Saxony or Upper Bavaria. The Swabian Alb was traditionally a poor region and the inhabitants knew how to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials.

HF has explored the essential nature of this region with a clear and analytical eye and expressed it in her work. Her paintings are surrogates, extracts and flavours, displaying her very own interpretation of the region. The essentials, nothing more, but also nothing less!

In an age, where the focus is directed solely towards MORE, the sentence LESS IS MORE appears somewhat hackneyed and archaic. But, should we meet it in a chance encounter, we realise how pleasant the LESS can be:

The paintings tell, with a poetic serenity the story of the Swabian Alb, their people and their dwellings. The “Älbler” know about understatement and don’t crow or boast. A typical phrase from their dialect would read: “we don’t show what we have got”.

HF has understood the fundamentals of how beautiful the few can be, which expressions of elegance or austerity can be developed, which powers can be transported by reduction, plainness, simplicity and clarity. She has transformed this knowledge into a remarkable and unique language:

Highly aesthetic, very intense, full of poetry and finally, doing justice to her subjects.

Arthur Schopenhauer wrote: “The first and practically the only condition for good style is that one has something to say”

HF has something to say!

Ulrike Böhme, Artist and Architect, Hohensteinateliers


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