World Forms

Alke Reeh’s Notes on East and West

Dr. Tayfun Belgin

The works of the series von Kuppeln und Tassen [On Domes and Cups] almost provoke the following scenario: Somewhere in the East, Islamic and Christian dignitaries meet for a joint visit to a museum of folk culture. They stop in front of a specific display case for here a long-guarded secret is revealed in a very graceful form. Shown are cups whose interior curvatures do not only present well-known ornaments, but also illustrations from cupolas of temples, churches, and mosques. A Romanesque church reveals in the center of the cupola above the crossing, i.e. the meeting point of the four directions, an exquisite sacred ornament that corresponds to the decorative form in the cupola of a mosque of approximately the same period. The two spiritual worlds have developed mutual forms, which in a moment of shared experience are able to create a kindred harmony without words. The cupola is the shared roof under which one preaches regardless which form and gestalt the sermon takes.

In her photography series von Kuppeln und Tassen, Alke Reeh creates an ideal world into whose abundant forms viewers are happy to immerse. The artist's interest is particularly focused on the mutual language of design and décor, the form of buildings and paintings per se. Islam as well as Judaism prefer non-figurative illustrations; for them God cannot be represented. Moslems therefore developed a sophisticated filigree realm of forms that by means of inner harmony and perfection always points toward the creator of the universe. The unity of form corresponds to the unity of faith, bliss, and beauty. Figurative art as in the occident therefore cannot be the content of this seemingly abstract art whose lines are at the same time based on concrete forms. At most it is the realm of plants with its endless abundance of forms that corresponds to faith.

Alke Reeh's interest in the forms of this world expresses itself in various media: so in her recent crocheted works, in wall sculptures and floor pieces. Already in Röcke und Schnittmuster [Skirts and Patterns] she expressed an enthusiasm for concrete and virtual formal wrappings and created from a repertoire of universal forms that share a mutual inner language despite medial expression. She traces these collective forms and integrates them into her art in very different ways, pointing out that displacement of perception is important to her. Familiar forms, precisely because they are so banally common, are placed into contexts that create them quasi anew. Cultural allusions are no longer important because the world is ultimately autonomous and cannot be conquered by force. Those, who like Alke Reeh, discover these forms in the forms open up for themselves a new universe of connections and with it a new way of reflection.