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Heimat, Herz, Orte: Emerita Pansowová & Ofri Lapid

14 August – 25 September 2021

Emerita Pansowová and Ofri Lapid are two distinctive artists whose works stem from their completely different approaches. However, their thinking on the theme of home and its connotations is linked to the same city – Bernau. In the case of Emerita Pansowová, it is a place where she came at a young age and began to devote herself fully to sculpture. She has lived here for many years, freely creating her sculptures that express pure states of human existence, and the artist imprints another new identity on the figures. Ofri Lapid has long been concerned with the theme of communities and local cultures and also explores identity and interpretation of the history of Bernau in her project.

Emerita Pansowová

At first, the sculptor Emerita Pansowová gives a very fragile impression. The delicate and petite woman spreads an aura of a calm monument around her. Her artistic statement is in the same mode. The silence of the sculptor's studio is filled with full daylight and the individual sculptures stand upright and firm in a generous ambience.She describes her life's mission as striving to capture the human among us, it's pure being and emanation that reaches out to the viewer with its humble pride and maturity. Emerita has been working for decades with tremendous dedication and unrelenting discipline. Her life story reflects how loyalty and deep conviction and endless diligence have seeped into her artistic practice. Emerita has focused on and repeatedly returned to the theme of the human figure and the expression of its inner psychological tensions. In stone block, she relentlessly strives to capture that moment of escalating emotion that she literally carves into the mass with each successive stroke of the chisel. These are nuances, however, as she manages to maintain the integrity and convey to the viewer the impression of the whole. The sculptor listens to the gradually emerging being and observes what its character needs.She carefully observes the lived realities of the human body, psychological moments or life decisions or just the small pleasures of everyday life.The sculptor's thinking is based on and stems from a pure block of stone. She studies it carefully and looks for what the material allows her to do. Also significant is the powerful foundation from which the figures grow. Their feet and toes may appear massive, but they are firmly anchored and cannot be injured by their eventual thinning. It is similar with the stone itself, where subtle but deep emotion is more pronounced in the hardness of lava stone than in the more malleable sandstone. The expressive abstraction of the shapes of the human body, together with a high sensitivity to psychology and the capture of emotion and its transformation, give each sculpture an extremely earthy dimension. Their clear posture and immediate emanation have created a mother and child, a lightly striding girl, a dancer, an individual about to take a step-in life and other moments of our lives captured with immense intensity. The sculptor captures the essential themes of human existence in their fragility as well as eternity.

Emerita Pansowova (*1946) was born in Slovakia to a German mother and Hungarian father. At a young age she moved to Berlin, where she studied sculpture at the Kunsthochschule Berlin – Weissensee between 1967-1972 and at the Akademie der Künste under Ludwig Engelhardt between 1974-1977. She won several awards for her work. Many of her sculptures are in public spaces o.a. Heinz-Graffunder-Park in Berlin and Stadtpark Bernau bei Berlin. Her works are to be found in the collection of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Plastiksammlung im Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen zu Magdeburg, Staatliche Galerie Moritzburg Halle, Berlinische Galerie Berlin, Märkisches Museum Berlin.


Ofri Lapid

Ofri Lapid, born in Israel, applies an anthropological and ethnographic approach to her artistic and academic practice. Ofri has long explored the theme of local histories and public as well as personal narratives in various rather peripheral and remote places of the world, where she works with local communities.She relates the theme of home not to herself, but instead to the identity of the local inhabitants and the history of the city of Bernau. In her initial research, the artist wanted to familiarize herself with publicly available sources through official institutions. By chance, she discovered that the website of the home organization "Heimatverein" was currently unavailable or under construction, and that the announcement of the reconstruction of "Heimat im Umbau" could be read on its homepage. This fact led her to reflect more broadly on the character, and above all the constant re-interpretation of history for the formation of local identity.For it is a constant and dynamic process that is repeatedly re-constructed and re-interpreted; not only from an economic, political or sociological perspective, but also from a cultural one. Ofri has therefore decided to create a parallel website based on the historical timeline provided by a brochurefrom the tourist information.The functioning of the platform“Heimat im Umbau” is based on the registration of participants interested in the history of Bernau, to whom a living timeline is revealed, which is constantly changing and evolving. Each user or viewer thus gains a new visual experience and becomes part of the artist's interventions in a new mind map.The identity of a place is always shaped by the people who live there and through their experiences. Every place is a living organism and can be viewed through everyday perspectives and lived experience. By studying historical and local archives, the artist explores both the collective and individual narrative of local history and creates a provisional interpretation taking place in real time.

Ofri Lapid (*1983) was born in Haifa, Israel, and has lived in Berlin for over a decade. Between 2004-2010 she studied at the Kunsthochschule Weissensee and is currently completing her PhD at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg.

Text: Lucie Drdova