Eva Ohlow

„The imaginative aspect of mathematics goes far beyond art.“

The artist Eva Ohlow was born in Cologne in 1940. From 1958 to 1966, she studied at the works schools in Cologne and Wuppertal under Prof. Schaffmeister. From 1966 to 1979 she was assistant to Prof. Hubert Berke in Cologne. In 1976 she stayed at the Villa Romana in Florence. 1983 Study trip to North-West India. 1988 to 1992 study trip to Central Africa - Congo on the subject of "Fetish Places, Pygmies - Protective Tattoos, participation in the symposium "Afro - European" under the patronage of Johannes Rau. 1997 Gabriele Münster Prize A.B. 1998 Study of clay architecture in Mali and Burkina Faso. 2004 guest lecturer parallel to the sculpture exhibition in the city park of Wiesbaden in the context of the Wiesbadener Kunstsommer. 2011 Study trip to Toluca, Mexico. Eva Ohlow lives and works in Cologne

We wanted to get a deeper insight into sources of inspiration and working methods and asked some questions:

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When did you start working as an artist?

I have been a freelance artist for over 55 years.

Apart from art, mathematics and science are also important to you?

Yes absolutely. Instead of art I would have liked to study mathematics as well. I think that mathematics is a science that has such an imaginative nature that it goes far beyond art. I am fascinated by how everything can be calculated and documented. So the only thing that has the chance to be immortal is mathematics.

What inspires you?

Meetings with scientists or even non-fiction books inspire me. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute recommend books to me that allow me to immerse myself in various subjects and to acquire knowledge for my work, which I then incorporate into my own work.

My very lively parental home has also left its mark. Already at an early age I had contact with other cultures, other ways of life and foreign art. The contacts that opened up there also moved me to travel to other cultures and see other artistic possibilities that I have incorporated into my art.

What shapes and colours do you prefer?

Actually, I don´t use any particular shapes or colours. I let something emerge and also change it. Sometimes I also destroy a work again to gain a new kind of representation.

What do you feel about your work?

My work gives me a feeling of freedom and strength.

What values are important to you?

I simply want to achieve a quality that assures me that no work leaves my studio that I don´t feel is right and good myself.

What are your goals?

I want to travel a lot in the next few years. And I would like to get to know astrophysicists who will continue to support me in the idea of what I want to depict and who will give me the impetus to take a completely new approach to my work.

How did your artistic career run?

My first contact was my father, Professor Hubert Berke. In 1961 I started my classical education in typography and graphic design in Cologne. Later I continued my studies with Art on Construction. Already in 1963 I had my first exhibition in a gallery in Cologne.

Is there anything in common between art and mathematics?

There are indeed irrational similarities. And this irrational, in my opinion, contributes to the completeness of a statement.

Which material and which technique do you work with?

I use transparent raw rubber layers, which I lay on top of each other through different processing, but through which you can always see right down to the lowest layer. I also use steel, which I alter by hitting the surface in such a way that a three-dimensional landscape is formed. Three-dimensionality, as it can also be calculated in mathematics, is an important part of my art.

How do you proceed with your work?

As already mentioned, I work on a theme by reading it beforehand. My work also develops over a longer period of time until I am completely satisfied with it.

I am lucky to have several rooms in my studio, so I am able to work on several series at the same time. This allows me the necessary distance to the works, so that after some time I can often look at a picture differently.

What do you want to say with your art?

With my painting “Remembering the Past”, I want to show that there is something that you go back to, but that also implies a future that you want to understand and that you might have to change.

What science tells us today in the media is naturally also present in my art. I think it´s very important that you express something with it as participation in the current situation.


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