Werner Popken on art and more

February 2, 2007

Red Hair

Filed under: Art,Culture,Kultur,Kunst,Leben,Life,Malerei,Painting,Personal,Thoughts — Werner Popken @ 2:02 pm

Cutout from No. & · © Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg

Cutout from No.  242 (private property)

Between the  Longear and the  wheel we find another mask sitting like a flower on a stalk; in a certain way it is the counterpart to the  Mask in a Flower at left.

In contrast to that one this seems to be much simpler at first glance. Also, as an exception, it looks like a female figure.

The white color of the face and the reddening of the eyes are most conspicuous, although not as dramatic as in the  Blue Head. The red hair falls to the same side and meets the red flower that we talked about recently.

Quite similar to the yellow forms that we identified as knobs or nailheads, the cheek is emphasized by a red spot with a thick black framing which is given again beneath the other eye, there darkened and without frame.

The lips are very dark, nearly black, giving a strong contrast to the white face. Thinking of number symbolic according to Jung, the number four can be found in the leaves, but the number three as well, or even two against one.

This figure is looking definitely to the right, it does not localize the beholder. The expression is not so much melancholic but rather pensive and earnest, but definitely not depressive or fearful.

Undoubtedly there is no Picasso-like division on the face — if only one doesn’t concentrate on the line of the nose. If so, you will see the profile. To make that clear, I have isolated it and was really surprised that it seemed (for me) to be male. The cross check showed that the rest of the face is responsible for the female overall impression which is emphasized, of course, by the hairs.

© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg


© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg


© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg


Surprise! I didn’t recognize the male half at all! It looks somehow roguish, whereas the female part seems to be more reserved and observant.

I don’t know how this association forms, but somehow I always thought of this figure as being something like a witch — the red hair and the white face color certainly contributed to this impression. Witch in this sense seems to be understood more as mysterious, enigmatic, powerful, not so much uncanny and definitely not evil.

© Copyright Werner Popken · © Copyright Werner Stürenburg

This diminishment and even the original scan don’t give any clue if the face is given by the priming or painted — which I think it is. Sure enough, it is necessary to inspect the original in order to appreciate the details. The mouth will be given by a clear and obvious drawing, but it isn’t possible to work this out satisfactorily from the scan even with digital picture reprocessing.

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