Werner Popken on art and more

January 27, 2007

Blue Head

Filed under: Art,Culture,Kultur,Kunst,Leben,Life,Malerei,Painting,Personal,Thoughts — Werner Popken @ 10:11 am

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

Cutout from No.  242 (private property)

The next of the smaller heads sits right next to the  indian warrior and  the fish at his head. The eye of the fish can be seen on this cutout.

Potentially, the yellow shape on top might be the dorsal fin of the fish, but the notch points to the wrong direction; it is easier to think that this form means a shock of hair. From this cutout, it is hard to tell which view is correct.

The figure definitely has a blue face, more decidedly blue than the  no brainer is green. The blue seems to be the same pigment all over, attached more or less thick, maybe mixed with more or less white — it is hard to decide from the picture given here, but from the original scan I can judge that there are some smaller green areas within the blue. After having identified that, I can tell from the small representation as well; green spots can be identfied for example beneath the eye at left.

Like the others, this face can be read as profile and three-quarter face as well. The figure looks distressed and a bit callous, being very little interested in the environment, too.

The red eye and the black hole beneath the other are most noticeable. This head as well is peculiarly flat, doesn’t seem to possess a cranium, which becomes most obvious if the profile is isolated.

This separation may not be that easy to achieve, therefore I did myself a favor and cropped the figure itself and the profile next. In this mode the figure seems to be even more lonesome and lost, withdrawn to itself. The profile seems to be more extroverted.

© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg


© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg


The cap or the hair corresponds in some way to the green-yellow shades at the other side, which I didn’t notice before. The sentiment of shivering is backed up by the black coat, whose collar seems to be turned up. The whole face is characterized by the missing cranium, but looking at the profile, it is amazing that a lively face seems to be given, a personality indeed, although it can at most denote a mask.

Quite generally, a mask looks totally dead, which cannot be said at all from this figure. Somehow I associate with it the king Frederick the Great, a kind of old age portray. Isn’t he always given a little bit embittered and resigned, this first servant of his state?

© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg

Quite noticeable are both the attachments which could denote flowers, but equally well a kind of pit lamp. In this interpretation, four lights per lamp can be identified; however, the black crosses could be emphasized just as well, consisting of four blades with a central shaft, therefore denoting a revolvable construction. Actually it is quite obvious that the right cross is aligned with respect to the horizontal and vertical lines, the left cross being rotated in contrast.

I have used the word “cross”, therefore I think it is necessary to emphasize that no association with the Christian symbol is intended and cannot be evidenced in any way. Of course, C.G. Jung would stress the number four immediately and read this attribute together with the circle form as a symbol of completeness, as a concentrating Mandala — and I’m sure he would be able to interpret the duality of the symbol as well. I remember quite vividly that Erich Engelbrecht started to count the leaves of a plant and the stamina according to the symbolic of numbers as set forth by Jung on one of my very rare still lifes some 30 years ago. Quite naturally, I was very much impressed by the sovereignty of the senior, but nowadays I just shrug my shoulders in view of intellectual exercises of this kind.

Do these entities belong to the blue figure or do they rather appear isolated somewhere in the background? That’s equally hard to decide like with the green figure at left where we don’t know if the flower belongs to the headdress or just appears behind it. Anyway, the background to the left and right of this figure is red, but black and blue above it. The right flower/lamp is backed by a black “glow” separating black from red. Perceived representational, the situation remains unclear and incomprehensible. The emotional impact of this figure, however, is equally intense compared to the others looked at so far.

Do I like this figure? I didn’t even ask the question with respect to the other figures, did I? Here, I noticed first that the person seems to be uncanny, unappealing, a little bit frightening, but in the meantime I have learned to rather like it due to this contemplation. Basically, I made this transition with the other figures pretty much the same way. All of them are more or less strange to me.

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