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Gudrun Barenbrock’s video projections on the graduation tower in Bad Rothenfelde

Manfred Schneckenburger

She had been painting for quite some time before replacing the brush with a digital camera and computer
for the first time in 2004. Ever since, Gudrun Barenbrock has repeatedly swapped her traditional
hand tool for the computer. In part she finds the very texture and composition of her images through
the new medium. She compresses colours and shades or allows them to sweep ornamentally. She
filters out the colours, brightens them or boosts their intensity. She makes outlines and surface figures
agile and gives them an amoeboid-like flow. She contracts all colour ranges above an average dark
phase into a massive black, below this phase into a blank white. She designs and composes with the
computer just like Nam June Paik had prefigured developments for the video camera four decades
earlier. Like practically no other artist however, she remains a genuine painter in the process, with
picturesque effects, scenic horizons and proliferating vegetation.

Today Barenbrock is a master in transforming shape data into digital images. The expansive format of
the graduation tower is responsive to the dynamic of her compositions. Everything revolves around the
fluid element: water gnaws away at the underground salt stocks, water flushes the brine upward, and
water trickles down as fine strands over the thorn bushes into the collecting tank and refers back to
the subterranean sources. In Rothenfelde the artist plots a number of movements, flowing, streaming,
wavy, spraying, dripping. Her projection runs across the 4 x 16 metre surface and takes in the whole
height of the wall.

The intervention can be both powerful and subtle. The water can break out in surges or ripple in
effortless waves, flare up like walls of flames or condense into coloured drops. The full repertoire of
digital transformation is used: currents broaden, narrow linearly or merge into spotted patterns. The
undulating fluctuation shows that the computer and atmospheres inspired by a natural lyricism are
not mutually exclusive. Barenbrock remains, even with a digital camera and computer, a true painter
in front of the wall of the graduation tower.

Excerpt from "sichtlicht", exhibition catalogue, First Projection Biennale Bad Rothenfelde, 2007
ISBN 978-3-939825-83-8
Translation: Paul Bowman