Gudrun Petersdorff – "painted love letters to the world"

Artists like to take their audience into the past or the future, into fantastic worlds, into the depths of their own thoughts, a socially critical discourse or a personal story. Gudrun Petersdorff doesn't have to take anyone anywhere. Because you are already there; right in the middle of the here and now. In parks, gardens, on the outskirts of the city, on country lanes, in the streets of towns and villages, in front of the shoe rack, in the vegetable patch and in the patisserie. And especially by the sea.

The large to small-format paintings on canvas and the prints are an extract from the last fifteen years and all have their origins as plein air. For Gudrun Petersdorff, the reinvention and transformation of reality begins in the drawing on location. Drawing is "more spontaneous, more immediate", she says, and drawing is more intimate and quicker in its decisions. "If I'm still interested in the subject, I continue working in a larger format in the studio. In this case, I use the drawings and watercolours as preparatory work." The fact that she refers to her sketchbooks as diaries gives an idea of how densely and regularly she sketches  - and how much importance is attached to the everyday environment in her work.

The artist wants us to look - with pleasure and joy, cheerfully and lightly and for longer than just a glance, just as Gudrun Petersdorff looks at things and transforms them in colour and form in a pleasurably poetic, rhythmic and sensual way. She interprets the colours powerfully and brightly, the forms surprisingly boldly. And there is always a daring, exciting irritation in the allocation of colour and form to add a frivolous climax to the already spectacular course of the picture. The painter knows exactly which daring combination of colours she can use to create warmth, depth and closeness, when the colours vibrate, shimmer, glow, sleep or gather into flattering velvet, how southern light differs from northern light in the sky (house in Sellin in winter. 2020) and when the sea must shine purple, green or the clouds red, the mountains violet and the trees orange.

As with the colours, she also wanders through the forms. The large parks, the landscapes and the allotments are tamed flora; not wild, pristine nature but man-made urbanity. The basic geometric structures of the green areas, such as lines, diagonals and symmetries, flow into the composition and the pictorial elements complete the architecture; cylinders, circles, triangles and cones are the trees, bushes, hedges and paths condensed into form. (Blue hour Heringsdorf . 2021and Promenade in the snow with trees in the evening Bansin. 2018). Similarly in the still lifes; high-heeled women's shoes unfold a humorous, characterful life of their own in the Petersdorff ductus as a formal structure (Farbspiel. 2012) - and the numerous sumptuous cakes even more so (Angeschnittene Torte mit Erdbeeren. 2007). Fashion, food and flora are translated into joie de vivre and beauty. This is not trivial - you can call it innocent or benevolent. But above all it is a clever and rare plea to celebrate the formal existence of things.

Even if the use of colour and form is reminiscent of expressionist works, such as Max Beckmann's Frankfurt landscapes, Henri Matisse, David Hockney and Gabriele Münter, it had a completely different intention over a hundred years ago. In Gudrun Petersdorff's work, the reduction to form and colour can be read as a reconciliation; as a liberation of things from expectation, reproach, ambiguity and value attribution (what discourse could one have on cream cakes and high heels!). These are paintings without complications of reference or context. She also paints a longing for unspoilt, perfect simplicity. That is a strong decision.

Gudrun Petersdorff actually paints love letters to the world. Her pictorial compliments to the beauty of existing things and episodes are unique in this consistency, even if she modestly justifies it: "Sometimes I would like to paint an ugly picture, but I can't."

© Dr. Tina Simon, publicist, Leipzig, January 2024

1955 born in Ludwigslust, lives and works in Leipzig
since 2023 Cooperation with Gallery FLOX
1989-1992 Master student at the Akademie der Künste zu Berlin under Werner Stötzer and Dieter Goltzsche
1976-1981 Studied at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig with Hans Mayer-Foreyt and in the painting class with Bernhard Heisig
1974-1976 Training as a typesetter
1974 High school diploma
Exhibitions (Solo and Group), Fairs
Painting, drawing, printmaking, Rügen Cultural Foundation, Orangery, Putbus
2022 »FISCH & SCHNIPSEL«, Gallery Koenitz, Leipzig (paintings, objects, collages, ceramics)
2021 »BLAUE STUNDE«, paintings, prints, drawings, Gallery Intershop, Leipzig
2020 »REFUGIUM«, drawing, paintings, printmaking, Thaler Originalgrafik, Spinnerei, Leipzig
2016 »FERNBLAU«, paintings, Gallery Koenitz, Leipzig
2014 »SCHNITTSPUREN«, Gallery Hoch and Partner, Leipzig
2011 »ENDLESS SUMMER«, paintings, drawings, Art Virus Gallery, Frankfurt/Main
2010 »FARBIGE ZEITEN«, Gallery Oben, Chemnitz
2008 »PASSSAGE«, Gallery Finkbein, Dresden
2005 »GUDRUN PETERSDORFF – MALEREI UND GRAFIK«, Gallery Finkenbein, Gotha
2004 Gallery de verbeelding, Baarle-Hertog/Belgien
2000 »WASSER«, ARTCO-Gallery, Leipzig
1998 GUDRUN PETERSDORFF: WOMAN OF LEIPZIG, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco
1998 Worthington Gallery, Chicago