The Artworks by Ulrike Böhme
Among today's different art trends, contextualism has proved
to be an orientation that seems immune to temporary fashion. In addition,
its basic position demonstrates that it is capable of, and open to, various
The search for orientation within a context leads to a work area of multiple dimensions. The special characteristic of Ulrike Böhme's contextual work is its intention to go beyond absorbing the architectural and spatial environs - a boundary that, above all, three-dimensional abstract art has seldom exceeded - and take functions, contents, (work) processes, the individual perceptions of participants as an occasion to react to a semantic charging of the situation.
Consequently each project begins with her deliberate research into the special features of the situation and the people involved so as to then, through a conceptual act of selection and interpretation, set the stage for the artist's reaction and the direction her physical installations and social actions will take.
The objects she installs are among a repertoire that work with layers of glass, in part electrically geared to switch from transparent to opaque, thereby revealing and then concealing images, or that play with the overlaying of partly moving images, spoken or written texts, which through the use of non-verbal signs within the context of the respective situation allows a meaning only imaginable through association.
In this way she creates a balance of uncertainty out of which she opens up to the viewer a surprising new insight into the context that she had previously found. In this way, she makes use of a clear treatment of form so that, in an interplay of cleverly triggered stages, situations of great poetic precision emerge.
Several projects bring persons involved in the context into her interventions, whether they supply images or words or are present during chosen events, during which they are not passive onlookers but become active co-creators of staged acts.
Ulrike Böhme, like several other artists, has ventured into that in-between zone between the classical territories of art, the bestriding of which - as is also the case with science - is given more to innovation than remaining within the old boundaries. By exploring the area between visual art, architecture and three-dimensional design, she has taken up a position that, by expanding the interpretation of context to include its semantic and social components and - this is her distinction - by transforming it into artificially staged social rituals, has achieved a very special and unique form.