The "Before" and "Behind" of Figure and Ground
(Catalogue text Judith Sturm | Robert Schuman Art Prize 2007 - Trier | Germany)
Ernest W. Uthemann | Curator | Author | Former Director Stadtgalerie SB | Research Associate Saarlandmuseum - Saarbrücken | Germany
Some of Judith Sturm’s female torsos look like “paper dolls” on old cut-out sheets (are there still any of them?): one – mostly female – figure, just dressed with what is absolutely necessary, is surrounded by images of various articles of clothing, that are placed on the cardboard from 90 to 180 decrees angles in relationship to the figure because of a lack of space. The clothing’s contours are an evident fit with the posture of the figure. Each comes equipped with square “flaps”, which, after cutting out, should serve to attach the skirts, pants and blouses to the figure.
Actual, the sheets just are effective in all, uncut, in the specific composition of it’s elements, in fact they are isolated from each other, but based on their forms they are adjusted to a common centre.
In those paintings of Judith Sturm, which raise that impression, most of the scopes of the silhouettes that could be covered potentially from the surrounded articles of clothing – unlike the cut sheets – are omitted. The result is a segmentation of the corpora in fragments, which are standing unconnectedly in front of the setting, like cut through. Among absolute composing points of view, so that the plasticity of the silhouette will be cancelled in the plain, the “in front” and “behind” of silhouette and ground will – at least a part of it – be removed.
Judith Sturm’s favourite colour is – among black – a pink that varies from magenta to a flesh colour.
In this tone, the general subject of the images hints. “Because pink, this unique phenomenon in the colour spectrum, is paradoxical at its heart ;(…) you fall back on it, if you want to define the sin, but also the innocence:” (Tom Robbins)
Judith Sturm’s women which look like models, are at the same time attractive and vulnerable: They are faceless and fragmented and their incarnate appears – through admixing of particular salts into the colour – “unhealthily”, here and there you would like to say: like livor mortis. The traditional expression of the “death and the girl” seems to be omnipresent; the demonstration of attractive bodies in partly provocative clothes goes to a “vanitas vanitatum”.