DREAMS FOR ENIGMAS OF LIFE
By Umberto Putzu
'My artistic research spans through my life and the culture I have breathed: from works of art, to music, to the books which have been important for me and, through art, I express and synthesize the world which surrounds me. Making art, today means exposing one's experiences and knowledge to transmit our perception of the world using our awareness.'. These words of Grete Manthey accompany us in the discovery of her artistic production: already in the titles of her works, both collage and bags, we find her existential and aesthetic course. With the title: 'I am a berlinese' she remembers her childhood, when she looked at television with her prents the visit of Kennedy to Berlin and she was very excited, while thinking of a relative of hers who lived in east Berlin.The bag ' Bag Havelland' refers to a beautiful region near Berlin and is the expression of a holiday in those parts, after having read in school the german poet Theodor Fontane, who was born in Havelland.
There is even a tribute to the Rolling Stones
with the title 'Somehow Ruby Tuesday' and one of the writer 'Camus' in the name of her memories of the years studying psichology
in Cologne when she read Sartre, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud and obviously Camus. Very particular and of an intensely
contrasting effect the collage by the title: 'Ice no possibility of fusion' where there are assembled her clothes and her husband's
from whom she has divorced. There is then the title 'The wolf of the steppe' a clear referral to Hermann Hesse, while 'Goethe's
italian voyage' represents her love for Italy where already at two years old she was in piazza S. Marco with her parents, with whom
she returnrd every year even for the passion of the Lago di Garda... like Goethe. The work which is entitled 'Like Da Vinci' is
a testimony dedicated to the great cultural and human values of the Renaissance.
Grete Manthey prefers materials like wood and cloth, but in particular wood and paper which go well together: that is why she does
mostly collages made with paper on wood. She is an international artist but, just because of this, she valorizes and wants to make
the territory in which she lives famous, for the production of paper, become known. To give a 'cloth effect' she uses paper which
contains a high percentage of fibres like the Himalaya paper or mulberry tree paper which develop fibrous effects, when painted on.
She realizes her compositions with different materials which give an overall effect of deep intensity, especially with the addition
of marble powder. She paints with acrylic colours which she mixes with very diluted ones to create extremely delicate nouances,
or with pigments for more lively and intense colours. She began her artistic activity painting, then the bags arrived and now she
dedicates herself to both activities. For Grete the bags are like painting: 'one creates a base, the frame is made of wool which is
then joined to the other layers of patches of cloth. In the compositional procedure she outlines the theme and the details and, the
machine sewing becomes the brush stroke'. Like she herself says: 'In my creations there is always a conscious and unconscious
process.The unconscious reaches an unexpected symbol, often with a profound meaning and then it abandons itself to theconscious which manages to freely assemble the pieces of the puzzle. Finally the whole process is unveiled and, thanks to the knowledge of certain parts of the same pathway, one arrives to the finished composition. The mystery comes from the dynamics...
like in life.' Her collages on wood express sceneries of immediate visual perception: shapes in continuous metamorphosis, where the strong intensity of the colours, enters in counterpoint with a succession of geometries, figures, lines and signs often created as backgrounds which also develop in colour dissolvencies. Even her creative research, abandons itself to a continuous alternation between abstractism and images, symbols, written parts in a scenario of harmonious and finished style. Her works make us live the enigma of existance thanks to the game between luminosity and reflections, light and shadow, real and imaginary,
but balanced in a well crafted formality which transmits a pleasant vision of the whole creation. It is no coincidence that her works are all classified as 'Grete Traum' which translated from the german means: 'Grete's Dream': because they represent an aesthetic rapture in imaginary spaces, balancing between a testimonial and an onyric contemplation. The artist knows how to play in the most unexplored territories of our visual perception: because she succeeds in making us feel her compositions, even in the most articulated mosaic assemblements, surprisingly natural, like in a waking dream.
Her psychological formation is mirrored in the attention to even the minutest details, evident in her works as a reflection on each detail. In fact she manages to make us live atmospheres which go beyond the constituent elements of her compositions to become mirror of our contemporariness, flashes of our today, where the juxtaposition can even become the shading of an encounter.
Grete freely explores new territories of research, elaborating labyrinthine meshes, informal and articulated geometries, to confer an authentic and balanced harmony to her visions. From her works emerges an almost aerial fluidity, away from time and space, while her emotions, her dreams, her memories, her studies and sensations of the world emerge, in a profound life experience which she expresses with lightness. Because authentic lightness is never surface but is born from the profundity, as even Italo Calvino has taught.
Her art is a gaze on new expressive perceptions: an ideal horizon for an epoch which needs to know itself starting from its own origins, from the research of its cultural, social, human and artistic reality. For an itinerary which is capable of going beyond the labyrinths of the present day which is a continuous juxtaposing of images, often without a real connection between them.Grete Manthey transmits to us a scenario of existential enigma, which is a mirror of the complexity of the world in which we live and she accompanies us in the mystery of existing: to make us the surprise gift of an art which is a real testimonial of our times.