OUR FUTURE DEPENDS ON YOU!
In the 1960s Benno Werth developed his unique subtractive casting process, which would go on to form the basis for hundreds of bronze, iron and aluminium sculptures. As well as sculptural works, he produced an extensive body of paintings in his many decades of work as an artist, which also impress thanks to his idiosyncratic style.
It was particularly important to Werth that his unique casting process be remembered even after his career as an artist came to an end. He invested many years of his life perfecting this process and continually refined it with the help of varying materials and techniques. His casting process was not only highly esteemed in the art world, but also caught the interest of engineers. Werth’s technique allowed him to create complex indentations in a single casting, which would not have been achievable using previous casting techniques.
In recent years Werth gradually introduced his partner Professor Dr Gisela Engeln-Müllges to this unique process, with the aim of preserving the knowledge and skills related to the subtractive casting process for future generations. Together, they continued to develop the technique further. In accordance with Werth’s wishes, Engeln-Müllges will now continue with his work alone in homage to the great artist, deploying a new vocabulary of colours and shapes.
The results speak for themselves: the new forms of columns, walls, skylines and even globe shapes are evidence that much can still be achieved using Werth’s casting process even after his career unfortunately has ended. Engeln-Müllges has succeeded in creating highly complex sculptures. We find various discs, from wafer-thin to thick, used to create her columns. Thanks to a highly diverse range of incisions, these forms vary constantly depending on the viewer’s angle. Now, Engeln-Müllges has fused sculpture and base together by directly including the bottom of a sculpture in the casting process.
Moreover, Engeln-Müllges’s skylines further develop the theme of walls. In these pieces she creates large-scale works characterized by the tremendous complexity of their shapes. What from a distance resembles a succession of building parts of varying heights arranged in a row, proves on closer inspection to be a highly-complex spatial creation, which boasts an ever-changing array of new shapes, perspectives and in particular a dramatic depth of field, depending on the vantage point of the viewer. No part of the sculpture is the same. The surfaces and structures are in a continual state of change. Interruptions and slight changes of angle give the sculptures added life and even a semblance of playful lightness.
Benno Werth always found it important to view sculpture and painting as a single entity and consistently realized this idea in his artistic work. Gisela Engeln-Müllges in turn has has taken the painting techniques she learnt from Benno Werth to develop an independent artistic program. For example, the vivid colours of Werth’s pictures have been reduced to black and white paintings in many of her works. Nevertheless, the relationship is evident and no attempt is made to conceal it. Moreover, the new shapes compositions demonstrate her works’ leap into another world.
Engeln-Müllges’s painting are characterized by the spirals, grids and the tiny pictorial areas reminiscent of landscapes. While her work does trigger associations with landscape painting, the artist is not interested in depicting reality but rather in creating new pictorial realities. That being said, colour has begun to play an increasingly vital role in her more recent paintings. Characteristic of her work is the technique of applying coloured paint in layers and later partially stripping, scratching or washing it off off so that the lower layers can once more be seen, thus drawing the viewer’s gaze deeper into the painting. The image accordingly becomes a multi-dimensional world of experiences, opening up dimensions and continually offering us new and surprising moments. Engeln-Müllges has succeeded in developing her own independent means of expressing herself artistically while paying homage to her origins and the work of Werth.
Andreas Beumers, Kunsthistoriker