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Ulla Wobst is an artist whose faculty of expression is coined by her literary and intellectual roots. Additionally, it is based on the depths of her emotional and imaginative world...
Although her paintings often emanate something mysterious and surreal it is important not to forget that they do not want to present a dream world but the inner truth of the artist...
The centre of her paintings is man and his primary themes juxtaposed in the subsequent contrasts : Life and death, love and death, happiness and sadness, confinement and liberty, strangeness and familiarity...

The subject ,Life and death` most obviously appears in the image "End of desert time" in which the impregnated ovule, the ultimate symbol of life, triumphs over the end of all life captured in the vast expanse of the barren desert.
The interaction of "Love and death" we see in "Gossip of the wasps" or in "Complicity", that of happiness and sadness in "Venetian waltz" and "Visit to Undine". The images "Desire" or "Walker along the border" may serve as examples for the theme "Confinement and liberty".

Her focus on mystery, dreams and the subconsciousness stylistically corresponds with surrealism, specially with Dalì ( "End of desert time" ) and Magritte ( "Hunting call" and "Complicity") but also with Pittura Metafisica.
Above all it is her series "In a beautiful town" in which De Chirico's influence is obvious. There are the empty, cleanly swept and strictly constructed squares, the statue like figures, the mysteriously caustic shadows, even the motif of the clock-face. But whereas De Chirico's nightmarish rooms speak about inhuman endless nothingness in Ulla Wobst's paintings man remains present with all his emotions. He looks at us with empress Theodora's eyes or those of a fragment of an antique statue...

Quite clearly one also remarks the artist's affinity to the theatre. With some of her paintings one involuntarily associates scenes on a stage, costumes,declamations... Her fondness for scenic presentation can be seen in many of her paintings, i.e. in "Gossip of the wasps", "Complicity" or "Brief encounter" and "Dernier Cri", in which the pathos of gesture plays a central part. Looking at "Bitter boxwood", one seems to see the perspective of a stage, on which the figures are acting as in a play...

The themes chosen by the artist often emerge from her literary engagement, specially in fairy tales and mythology ("Visit to Undine", "The magician's downfall", "Hour of Pan", "Arianna's thread" ...).
She is also very fond of classical literary representatives of the 20th century. Samuel Beckett or Ingeborg Bachmann motivated her to impressive portraits and at the same time also influenced her work. The poems "Nebelland" by Ingeborg Bachmann and "Ein alter Tibetteppich" by Else Lasker-Schüler inspired her to creative transformations into "Flatterhaft" and "Teppichtibet"...
Beside literary impulses one also finds the effects of personal experiences in her work. A visit to Ravenna last year inspired her to the series "In a beautiful town". Thematic elements and colours which contain warm shades of gold and jewels depict the intense impressions the mosaics of this town have made on her.
Ulla Wobst has- even if guided by some different styles- created her quite authentic and unique form of expression in order to realize her artistic intentions that essentially arrive from her great emotional and imaginative depth.


Susanne Dauer M.A.
(Art Historian)

Translation: Ulla Wobst