By Anna Grau, Berlin | German Version
“This exclusion of the outsider runs through the whole history of our culture. Exclusion of a fear-inducing feminine element is always present.“ (Christa Wolf, author, from an interview to ‘Medea. Stimmen’).
“Above all, this includes the figure of Lilith, Adam’s first wife, who is virtually excluded from the biblical tradition as she was not only equal to Adam, but superior, yet she played an important role in the ancient Sumerian and Jewish traditions.“ (Quoted from Andreas Weber, “Fairy spot: Medea – A look back to the front!”, Laudation)
The idea for the “Unleash Lilith!” cycle originated in desire to rethink and visualise in symbolic and contemporary terms the “fear-inducing feminine element” found in a woman.
I believe it is women who carry this fear-inducing feminine element, and it is epitomised in the image of protohistorical Lilith. She resonates being the originator of unrest, a woman who is a disobedient, provocative, dissenting, emancipated, androgynous outcast, repulsive yet appealing at the same time.
My goal is to create a series of emotionally expressive women’s portrayals. In one aspect they present a new, marginalised, provocative expression of femininity, revealing women in all their beauty and otherness, while their other aspect is manifested through numerous symbolic elements. These include those found in nature, such as wolf, spider, and flowers, as well as somewhat pagan sounding inscriptions on skin, like “God does not exist” written in Russian on Lilith.3; a female slug of a dominatrix which looks oversized in perspective is a symbolic representation of an ’uberwoman’; long hair of Lilith.9 are reminiscent of tree roots or snakes.
This symbiosis between a female body and symbols reveals a new dimension to interpret meanings that are almost mystical. Nature in its origin is seen deeply interwoven with the feminine element. A woman is the origin of everything and she is nature herself, the mother of all things living, or perhaps a witch.
My intent as a painter to raise these deeply philosophical questions through the dubious interplay between the good and evil taking place on the female body. I play up this contrast on canvas and the resulting tension appears to reach deep into the subconscious. Every painting is a symbiotically connected antithesis of the first mother and a witch, beauty and ugliness, irritation and admiration, good and evil, light and shadow.
I present women in an emotionally exaggerated way and save them in a fixed visual form.
The “Unleash Lilith!” cycle is a study of nature which is specifically female, and at least a part of it relates to a modern woman. I aim to revive the archaic sacral element of life’s origins found in every woman. In this context she is more reminiscent of a pagan goddess than of Madonna with the Child, and this unorthodox vision is expressed it in a new, contemporary form.
Every painting is enhanced by profoundly powerful symbolic elements and is meant to reveal a deep connection to nature and to show a woman the stage of life herself, the symbol of origins of all things living.
The “Unleash Lilith!” cycle is not yet completed. Some of the paintings were already shown and very well received at art exhibitiosn like NordArt, Germany. — In partnership with Andreas Weber, Frankfurt/Main, Anna Grau will create an unique exhibition & roadshow concept including publications.