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The First Hour Of Full Moon

Race II

Le Week-end

The Cello Players

Byte By Byte

Le cabinet de curiosités

Destiny II

The Trojan Horse


The First Hour Of Full Moon

"The First Hour Of Full Moon", 1996
oil and silver leaf on linen. 35½" x 63". 90 x 160 cm © Susanne Schuenke 1996
You think to hold your breath, wishing to fix that fraction of time when the perfect circle detaches from the earth's horizon. Free like a sailing boat severed from its pier-cables, the disc of the moon floats in a gracious bow upwards. Swirling clouds reflect the dramatic contrast which comes with the change of characters in the sky: The dark, impenetrable indigo clashes with an opalesce quality of white that outlines the shapes and clusters surrounding the central figure. As the colour gets lighter the moonrise continues at a sedate pace. Still she brightens continually to a staggering white quality, which seems to be unsurpassed in the night sky, reaching the center of stage, controlling the eternal walk of time.
The formations of the clouds mirror the paradox of movement and change during this timeless standstill. They replay the mystic fantasy of man, imagining the disc of the moon being held by Selene's* invisible hand guiding it through its orbit, while the other hand removes the veil of darkness from the sleeping landscape.

*Selene: ancient Goddess of Moon



Race II

"Race II", 1996
oil, gold and silver leaf on linen. 44" x 78.7". 112 x 200 cm © Susanne Schuenke 1996
In the battle to win - five horses describe the wide range from glorious victory to final despair, be it the competition on the turf or in life. Out of indigo clouds the horses roll down like a thundering avalanche toward the goal. Their jockeys cling like droplets on the mighty bodies, playing a very secondary role in the performance of speed.
In the front the golden winner superiorly dominates the race. The second, light blue horse, defends with some strain its conquered place. As third, the orange beast shows the pressure of the fight, while number four is already doomed to lose; Lather around his mouth indicates the enormous stress the poor animal is undergoing. The fifth horse, barely visible, drowns hopelessly in the dark clouds of failure.
Beside the actual horse-race, some letters and numbers written in the turf lead to the wider interpretation of the competition: Composed by dots they mimic the ticker tape of the stock market, telling about another race, this time for financial victory.




Le Week-end

"Le Week-end"
oil on linen. 25" x 43". 64 x 110 cm. © Susanne Schuenke 1998
1930's - somewhere on the continent ... It's weekend and high spirits drive proudly the white sportscar. Let the world hear the sparkling horn; what fun to have the wind dancing in her scarf. Sweetheart is not quite used to the speed, but a glass of claret at the approaching dejeuner will take care of this!




The Cello Players

"The Cello Players"
oil, gold and silver leaf on linen. 29" x 63". 73 x 160 cm. © Susanne Schuenke 1994
... to play the score, to master the instrument, to perform life...

The vivid wood colours of the instruments dominate over the subdued black dresses and they are embedded in the swirls and movements of sheer music.
The players portraits very individualistic - and characteristic ways of mastering the task: the black-haired lady in the center is totally involved and dedicated to perform at the best. Her colleague in the front row, more experienced disciplines her cello in a controlled but independent way.
The young girl to the left struggles with difficulties, while the man in front of her represents a more individualistic style. The couple at the far right are quite the opposite: same style, same position, same play. Boring from their youth until their retirement age.
And the one with the walnut brown instrument? Why he does not play?
Is he pausing, unsure of the score, unwilling to obey the conductor, criticizing the choice - or simply, it is not yet his turn?




Byte By Byte


"Byte By Byte", 1997
oil on linen. 35½" x 24". 90 x 61 cm. © Susanne Schuenke 1997
"So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

These are the closing lines of Shakespeare's famous sonnet no.18 - How right he was, as long as students learn to read and scholars teach them to understand the thoughts, the beauty of century-long developed culture will live on, appreciated and nourished.
But technological process, accelerating in yet inexperienced progression, brings a new meaning to the concept of literacy. Reading no longer includes the concept of language structure, the harmony and rhythm of words, the magic of lyrical power to create new worlds. The joy of reading is to be exchanged for computer literacy.
Information is the buzzword, and how to make the fastest and most profitable use of it. The romance of the language, the beauty of associations, the fantasy of men will be dissolved. Like the dissolution of an image into the coarse square bytes on the screen, so poetry is being reduced, byte by byte, into obsolescence.




Le cabinet de curiosités


"Le cabinet de curiosités", 1997
oil and gold leaf on linen. 33¾" x 26". 85.5 x 71 cm. © Susanne Schuenke 1997
This small piece of furniture revives the Baroque tradition of the collector's cabinets with their precious, strange, and rare and items.
The surreal cabinet rises from mystical waters and tells of a world of sensations, and dreams; narrating about life through both material and immaterial elements. Joys and longings ascend with secret misty vails from the drawers - some remain closed to the observer's eye, others burst open to reveal their treasures.
The allusions to the Five Senses are given with paintings and ripe grapes, opulent tulips, a bird and a width of embroidered Japanese silk: seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing and touching.
The world of the arts includes paintings, glass- and silverware, Islamic ceramic and Chinese porcelain, carved boxes and an architectural model. Books and letters, writing tools and a chess figure belong to the realm of spirit, of knowledge and of learning. Nature's kingdom is represented through gems and shells, flowers and fruits, an audacious bird and a glimpse into the infinite sky.
The central, column-rimmed niche of honor of the cabinet is dedicated to the three stars forming the "belt" of Orion.
If one follows the big bubbles, a traditional iconographic metaphor for Vanitas, there in the bubble's reflexes one finds the primary stars of Orion to form the complete constellation. The "eternal" stars embedded in the fragile and short living bubbles recall not only the transitory nature of man but also demonstrate again the dimensions of the cosmos, still incomprehensible to the human mind.




Destiny II


"Destiny II", 1997
oil and gold leaf on linen. 19¾" x 17¾". 50 x 45 cm. © Susanne Schuenke 1997
Out of the heavenly spheres, at the brim of earthen existence steps the human being into life.
Blindfolded, the knowledge of his real purpose and spiritual task stays hidden from him until his development unfolds part of this eternal mystery. For many individuals, this message will be denied. They remain blind forever to the heavenly spark of life.
The incredible potentialities, dormant in this new body, are waiting to open, to blossom and to prosper. Shown as a multitude of forms and colors in the limbs, how many of them will reach their acme? The torso wrapped in layers of transcendental tissues indicates the possible depths and qualities of human sensibility, gentle wisdom and emotional poetry.
May his steps on earth be gentle, guided and lead him back to his heavenly home.




The Trojan Horse


"The Trojan Horse", 1998
oil and gold leaf on linen . 36½" x 36½" . 93 x 93cm © Susanne Schuenke 1998
The black stallion walks in majestic pride, dwarfing the landscape unrolled beneath his steaming hoofs. Between his legs spreads a strip of parading and reclining figures, the latter taken from the classic Greek relief freeze, which once decorated the Parthenon. With this classic reference the tone is set for the story as Homer tells in his Iliad, but the participants in the parade are contemporary figures carrying modern inventions.
They proudly present the results of developments in technology, economy, and science, but ignore the negative, repercussions, with which these inventions and temptations might change our lives forever.
From right to left the parade samples: the unlimited electricity to be won nuclear energy, the manipulation with genetic material, the overload of chemicals to our harvest and nutrition, the seduction of the credit card system, the cloning of the first mammal, easiness to medicate every human emotional condition and as the extreme danger, the biological warfare - artificial viruses carried by a rocket, ridden with a rodeo-cowboy mentality.
Therefore the story of the Trojan Horse finds many counterparts today, when developments are prematurely, celebrated, followed by disappointing backlashes.



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