Werner Popken on art and more

January 24, 2007


Filed under: Art,Culture,Kultur,Kunst,Leben,Life,Malerei,Painting,Personal,Thoughts — Werner Popken @ 10:21 am

Cutout from No. › 242 (private property) · © Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg

Cutout from No.  242 (private property)

This is the third of the big heads in painting 242. It is situated right below the second big head, and both denote the middle axis of the picture.

This figure is placed quite exactly in the middle of the lower border; due to the gradient of the head, there is a slight skewness which is emphasized by the fact that the head above is placed to the right and given in a three-quarter profile looking to the left.

We have seen the orange-red feathers forming his headdress two days ago already ( Indian Warrior). Both the headdress and the red face painting as well as the drawn out earlobe suggest an exotic origin. A red pearl necklet decorates the neck; due to the intensive red color the face appears particularly pale.

Apart from the attributes this face does not look particularly exotic, it might rather be considered as WASP = white anglo saxon protestant. The sex of the first large head ( No Brainer) is somewhat indefinite, but could definitely be male, whereas the second is just as clearly male as the third, at least in my view.

The attribution of the sexes is in general achieved easily. Of course, there are female looking men and male looking women, but nevertheless even at far distance, in most cases there is abslutely no doubt about the sex of a person, the entire figure and the movement giving additional clues. It might be more difficult with a photo or a section of a photo, but still it’s an easy exercise normally.

Most often the persons in my paintings have a clear and definite sex for me, with a clear tendency to female looking men and male looking women. Therefore, I was very much surprised at times that other people perceive things totally differently. That was very interesting to me. What are the characteristics that we need to attribute sex? How do we recognize sex at all?

It seems to be clear that the feelings and associations produced by the painting are determined by the person looking at it. The question of perception and insight seems to be extremely complicated anyway. We recognize our environment through our senses, but these senses work differently in every individual.

This is pretty obvious for people who suffer from color deficiencies. But even in other cases it is questionable if the red that I perceive will be perceived in exactly the same way by any other person. The answer must be, of course, no! The more you think about this, the more you wonder that we can communicate at all.

That’s why I leave this discussion now and just continue to describe my perception; the reader will have his own observations and experiences anyway. Having settled that the other big faces and even the fish look worried, the expression of the lower figure is pretty clear. This person doesn’t look to the outside at all, it is totally engaged with itself.

Upper and lower lip join to a regularly swung line which has the clear tendency downwards. As a rule, this expresses resentment, but in this case I would rather interpret a certain weariness, mourning and pain.

While the second head looks saliently male, this person is clearly shown as pretty soft. It seems to be a young man of maybe 25 years with unusually regular traits. Its sharp nose stands in contrast to the evenly round chin. In total, a certain contradiction results. Being very gentle, there is no easy answer to its peculiar state of mind.

It isn’t clear where the feather decoration should point to. Definitely, it isn’t an Indian headdress. Somehow I can’t help to associate “Buddha”. Buddha, as is well known, was a well protected,

The feather/spring decoration is not to be arranged. A indianischer decoration is it anyhow not. Somehow itself the association “Buddha” wants with me; not to drive out leave. Buddha was, as is well known, a protected, blessed Indian prince, who nevertheless found his life intolerable and therefore stepped out of it one day.

Buddha statue, lower Rhine River · © Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg

Buddha statue, lower Rhine River

To be sure, I called the appropriate page of the German Wikipedia and was pretty much surprised that the figure given their has long ears indeed (» Buddha). I didn’t know that at all, but of course I have seen quite a number of these statues and must have realized subconsciously that the Buddha is given this way by tradition.

I was even more surprised by the long narrow nose of this figure and the fine design, having something female about it. The Buddha keeps the eyes closed or puts them down, which isn’t easy to tell from this picture; in any case, it looks inwardly as well. Therefore, the association with Buddha doesn’t seem to be that strange. However, being perfected, Buddha is not worried at all but rather evenminded, sometimes cheerful. Our longear isn’t that far developed yet.


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