Quattan Foundation Ramallah (2004) Aurore Reinicke said, «My work points out the relationship between the political – social world and the intimate psychological sphere». In many ways the artist traverses those spaces, bringing a reality of the exterior world into the interior which disrupts the nostalgic ambience of this building. In a sense we cannot escape the reality of the exterior, finally its presence is absolute. Tina Sherwell, Jerusalem 2004

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Four Wall Drawings, Eight poems, Introduction to the exhibition, at the Quattan Foundation, Ramallah, June 2004,

Places have a way of weaving themselves into our sensibility, and this is very much the case with the work of Aurore Reinicke. The wall drawings, poetry and video work have all arisen out of the experience of location and dislocation. They represent a study of place and the space of art, for they were created over the last three years, several years after the artist arrived in Jerusalem in July 2001. She found the themes of her work evolved in tume with experience of the fragmented landscape and paradoxes of Palestinian lives in these territories. Being an outsider she felt she was able to distill elements of the harsh terrain of borders and enclosures and in doing so pushed her own creativity to new spaces and limits. Her work creates a visual poetry of place which through its deliberate minimalism captures an essence where we are invited to view the horizon line from a new perspective.


Dr. Tina Sherwell is of British and Palestinian origin and is a writer and artist who studied in London at Goldsmiths College and who currently lives and works in Jerusalem. She completed a Ph.D on Palestinian Art and Popular Culture from the University of Kent and has written numerous articles and catalogues on contemporary art. She has worked with many Palestinian cultural institutions and local artists.


Wall Drawings: Wires by Aurore Reinicke

Two single meandering lines moving across the spaces of The A.M. Qattan Foundation’s entrance hall (project 1) marks the beginning of our encounter with Aurore Reinicke’s site specific works.The French artist spent several weeks producing a series of abstract wall drawings in red pencil that creep, grow and occupy the premises of the organisation. The works, which take their original inspiration from the grids and matrixes of barbed wire metamorphosize in these interiors through the artist’s re-interpretation of this crude harsh element. Reinicke successfully brings the form of barbed wire, an uncomfortable every day object, whose presence in our environment we would prefer to dissavow and which has come to connote the materiality of enforced borders into this tranquil, pristine historical Palestinian building. The artist suggests that it is an act of provocation to place a tragedy of everyday life in an art space. She says, ”My work points out the relationship between the political – social world and the intimate psychological sphere”. In many ways the artist traverses two spaces, bringing a reality of the exterior world into the interior which disrupts the nostalgic ambience of this building. In a sense we cannot escape the reality of the exterior, finally its presence is absolute. What Reinicke does, is create a third space, that is located between the seemingly secure space of our doemstic architecture and landscape that has become alien and intimidating. A third space situated between the architectural, the aesthetic and the materiality of confinement. For it is the linear, a line that is drawn on a map that will become a reality, a geography, which will shape the experience of place of how one gets from here to there or doesn’t. A line at the same time is drawn by the artist, in which the whole body stretches and moves to represent space, a line of poetry, a stream of thoughts it all returns to the linear, but with this artist’s works the linear in a non-conventional form. Reinicke’s lines are blood red, like a trickle of blood, the monitor of a heartbeat or a deep scar. In fact the lines of Project 1 appear as a scar upon the landscape, the place of a deep wound where the body of space has been cut and sutured. All the elements of the landscape have been erased so that all that can be traced is the smudged lines that mark out the presence of the terrain and horizon. The single lines, which are the substance of boundaries, lead us to other spaces where we encounter Reinicke’s wall drawings in which the grid takes many different permutations. Matrixes and the form of the square are one of Aurore Reinicke’s artistic muses. In the real landscape, a single square multiples into grids of wires and demarcates the landscape of Palestine/Israel. Walls of wires carve out the geography of the terrain and in so doing become architectural elements, however mundane or crude they may seem. Echoing this discourse but taking a completely different tangent Reinicke’s drawings explore the architecural and the monumental aspects of this form and paradoxically through the artist’s exploration this element becomes aesthetically intriguing and takes on a resonance of its own beyond its initial connotations of violence, partition and division. Through her drawings she explores the many faces of this form stretching, pulling and contorting them into new fabrications. There is an exploration in these works in which Reinicke takes her starting points to new scales and articulations, pushing it to its limits as though in an attempt to strip it to its essence. The artist reduces all detail into simple line and the elimination of shadows does away with established forms of representation so that three dimensionality is achieved via the concave and convex of the line and through tension of the line and the surrounding voids. The drawing of the line becomes an act of soul searching as the artist’s hand flows and travels across these spaces; the line leads the arist’s hand transforming the drawing in progress. The act of drawing and the process of making these works were a very important part of their realization. The pieces were carefully executed. In many instances the artist marked out the lines and carved out the space while drawing taking careful consideration of architectural details and pattern. The building itself has numerous traditional architectural motifs, that include its tile work, doors, windows and architectural layout echoes of which can be found in the mesh of wires. Each project was choreographed, hence the lines engage in a dialogue with each other and the space, joining, splitting, converging, splintering, enclaving, occupying and disintegrating in which every time two lines meet there is a different encounter. It is through the quality of line and the nature of the mark in relation to their positioning that enables each drawing to convey a distinct quality. Therefore, each wall drawing articulates a different ambience enhanced by the artist’s invitation to contemplate the drawings from different positions, in order that we encounter their transformations and multiple facets, as we move, turn, crouch and look upwards into the spaces, the nuances of the drawings shift and rotate.

There is an intimate discursive relationship between Reinicke’s drawings and poetry. The landscapes of Reinicke’s poetry are barren and minimal, practically monochromatic apart from the dream of a colorful net or the fantasy of an oriental dance. There is certain desolateness to these places where one senses that the artist travels alone a witness to landscape that exists after the end of time. The earth is fragmented and split, there is virtually no vegetation apart from ominous trees on a dark road or the concrete fingers of unfinished buildings that rise up on a grey horizon, or scrap metal and contorted wires. One feels that greyness and concrete is everywhere and even the growth of an olive tree is stunted as roots grow in cement. The body is also in fragments, fingers are frozen, crushed and dying and the form of the masculine is empty. The artist suggests that her aim is not to transcribe landscape and experiences, ”but to use words as pictures, to reinforce the power of an image at the same time create a mental intensity so that the reader is taken to the vivid spectrum of a palette”. After reading her poems one of them returns to embark on a deeper exploration of her abstract drawings in which line and space takes on metaphoric associations. While at the same time throughout the poetry one finds the echo of the linear and the grid and the enigmatic lines of her drawings intercept and grow within the lines of poetry.

Each one of the projects has its own resonance. In Project 1 the lines on each side of the wall are a mirror reflection of one another, they recall the horizon line, but rather than imparting a feeling of stability as they demarcate the terrain of the landscape they give us a feeling of disorientation. In fact one recalls Reinicke’s poem toilet paper and the piece of paper, swirling and floating, drawing a line in the air, tracing a space in a momentary dance that seems free. In Project 2, the lines climb and travel across the walls and ceiling, recalling a ladder that invites us to transgress gravity and trespass on the walls. The lines are calm and the grids bulbous as the drawing has organic overtone as lines search for a site of habitation. At the same time the ladder is incredibly fragile as though woven from a single thread, that it may disentangle at any moment. The act of drawing and mark making on walls is an ancient art form that humans have engaged in for centuries and which have been left to us in many historic places. However in Reinicke’s drawings there is an element of fragility and temporality, like it is in recent times that these blood red grids have come to inhabit the place. At the same time there is an element of uncertainty surrounding their permanence and whether they will grow to occupy other corners and crevices of the building as many of the lines seize in mid air thus leaving us in duality as to whether these lines will multiply or disintegrate. To view Project 3 we are called upon to look upwards in a posture normally associated with reverence and awe and in so doing, we are confronted by the paradox of a hole in the wire netting on the solid ceiling, the opening is a false illusion, and one recalls the reference to the corner of the sky in her poem Gaza. There is a mixture of emotional overtones in the lines of the drawing some are calm and rhythmical, while others appear frenetic, charged with emotion and energy. At intersections one imagines oneself to be looking at script, or the interpretation of music, or even the line of a heart beat. In fact the drawings and the poetry defy our expectations and visual intrigue and tension is created precisely through the differences within the grid and by the breaking, severing and unravelling of the matrix that leaves the lines hanging in thin air. In the final project (Project 4) the wires have solidity, the contortions recall organic forms which the regular grid attempts to contain. In places we see the trace of the artist’s hand, as the positions of lines are re-inscribed creating shadows. It is as though the wires are made from molten metal interlocking into one another, contorting into a strange contraption of confinement. With this final work in the series we witness the way in which the space and the act of exploring, studying and re-interpreting the subject matter come together to transform the object and the place creating new dimensions. Having moved through these spaces and encountered these drawings from different thresholds one is left with the sense that Reinicke’s drawings are gestures that impart sense of spirituality and silent minimalism.

Dr. Tina Sherwell


Vein Fences: The Reality Of Aurore Reinicke

At the beginning, Reinicke is a spectator she keeps away the fences and the gratings with fine red lines, wants to overcome and get rid of them. Soon, though, these wires and iron are inscribed on her own face. The running ink is drawing rings round her eyes. Her blood is running in baring veins. The brushes and fingers become one with the wires and they imprint on the memory. However, the experience of the past has a strong effect on the future. All of a sudden, Reinicke’s plain lines turn into scars on the skin; and these scars grow deeper, they turn into breaches on the surface of the earth and capture life in rusty wires. Reinicke is not only prolific in terms of her artistic interpretation and inspiration with regard to her works on paper, wall drawings, poetry and paintings, photos or collages. She lets her own reality in Jerusalem and the surroundings proliferate into the eyes of her spectators. Eventually, not only the eye of the spectator keeps hanging on the gratings. The ears are suffering from the voices of that nauseating music that the wind is playing with the barbed wire. The space is becoming more narrow; there is no mental freedom left. There seems to be no hope shimmering through, until Reinicke finally soaks the wires with the saving power of water, and all of a sudden, there is again a prospect.

For three years, the artist has been living in Palestinian reality. She came from a Europe where the liberty of swimming-pools projects cheerful curls onto the surface of the water, flitting squares on sea-blue ground. These were impressively alienated photographs, intelligent illustrations. However, they were not necessarily deeply arresting. Then, there was Palestine. The curls must have stuck in Reinicke’s own throat, because suddenly things did no longer go on with the same reasonable observation, the joyful, clear mixture of colours and shades. The curls at the surface of the water became a grating between a dry desert ground and a steel-blue sky, between the Palestinians and the Jews, between Islam and Jewry, between freedom and occupation. Near the check-point at the border fence Qalandia between Jerusalem and Ramallah, an art video was produced which captured as a wound this dividing fence between Israelis and Palestinians. There were voices to be heard, shots and cars. There were still boots or shoes to be seen. But nothing more. Gaza still has an even greater impact on her. ”No more than a wedge of sky” as a poem says, a road corroded into the desert. The barbed wires lead you where they will till the end. Do you know death? Are you the decomposing plastic bag, hanging on the barbed wire? During her exhibitions in the spaces of the Qattan Foundation in Ramallah, these experiences are once more filtered. The space is not only shaped but it invemts itself as a grid in word and image. Even the ground takes up the breach, Reinicke is describing in her poem. Certainly, the experience of Palestinian reality, of barbed wire and border fence is aesthetically refined in a space artificially cooled. Sweat and blood seem to have been washed away. Perhaps, it even has a good smell. The existing gratings seem to be subjugated by a structure. In fact, the artist makes use of another language in order to get rid of the same message. A sensitive person may be less bewildered, a stranger less touched. This systematic language of art objectifies at the same time the mordant experience and makes it less vulnerable to those, who could reproach Reinicke for exaggerating with her experiences on Palestinian reality. For all the refinement, for the visitor in the exhibition spaces the message remains clear.

In these spaces, however, the artist’s presence is reticent. The wide space starts to have an effect, her painting or the poem are given a frame by the space, they are contained. The reality of the wires and gratings suddenly obtains a new, more reconciling face. This accords to the artist’s spirit; because, in the end, a smile remains, a prospect of reconciliation. While still drawing the barbed wire and, to all appearances, being entangled in it, she is already dreaming of a coloured net, of an oriental dance, of a pale sky-blue, of a large room without soldiers. Reinicke offers hope, the possibility that these gratings which seem to put life under arrest might nevertheless one day dissolve into water and perhaps even form a uniting power.

If the artist captivates us, she also releases us again, enriched by profound experiences.

Dr. Jörg Bremer



Vergitterte Venen: Wirklichkeit bei Aurore Reinicke

Aurore Reinicke bleibt zunächst Beobachterin, hält sich mit roten feinen Linien die Zäune und Gittern fern, will sie überwinden und loswerden. Doch schon bald schreiben sich diese Drähte und Eisen in ihr eigenes Gesicht. Die rinnende Tinte zeichnet Ringe unter ihre Augen. Ihr Blut fließt in vergitterten Venen. Die Pinsel und Finger werden eins mit den Drähten und prägen die Erinnerung. Das Erlebte aber wirkt schwer auf die Zukunft. Plötzlich werden Reinickes einfache Linien wie Narben auf der Haut; und diese Narben wachsen tiefer, werden zur Rissen auf der Erdoberfläche und fangen das Leben in rostige Drähte ein.

Aurore Reinicke wuchert nicht nur mit ihrer künstlerischen Übersetzungskraft, nicht nur mit ihrer Inspiration auf Papier und an der Wand, in Text und Gemälde, als Photo oder Collage. Sie läßt ihre eigene Wirklichkeit in Jerusalem und Umgebung in die Augen ihrer Betrachter überwuchern. da bleibt nicht nur das Auge des Betrachters an ihren Gittern hängen. Die Ohren erliegen den Stimmen und Geräuschen, jener widerlichen Musik, die der Wind mit dem Stacheldraht spielt. Der Raum wird immer enger; es gibt keine geistige Freiheit mehr. Es scheint keine Hoffnung mehr durchzuschimmern, bis dann Aurore Reinicke mit der rettenden Kraft des Wassers die Drähte aufweicht, und plötzlich entsteht doch wieder eine Aussicht.

Drei Jahre lebte Aurore Reinicke in der palästinensischen Wirklichkeit. Sie kama us einem Europa, wo die Freiheit der Schwimmbäder fröhliche, zaunerne Kräusel auf die Wasseroberfläche wirft, huschende Vierecke auf wasserblauem Grund. Das waren eindrucksvoll verfremdete Phots, gescheite Illustrationen. Aber packen mußte das niemanden. Dann kam Palästina. Aurore Reinicke müssen sehr bald ihre Kräusel im eigenen Hals stecken geblieben sein. Denn plötzlich blieb es nicht bei der nüchternen Beobachtung, beim fröhlichen Spiel mit Farben und Nuancen. Die Kräuselü auf dem Wasser wurden zum Trenngitter zwischen trockenem Wüstenboden und stahlblauen Himmel, zwischen Palästinensern undd Juden, Islam und Judentum, Freiheit und Besatzung.

Um den Kontrollpunkt am Grenzzaun Kalandia zwischen Jerusalem und Ramallah entstand ein Kunstvideo, das diesen Trennzaun zwischen Israelis und Palästinensern als Wunde einfing. Da waren noch Stimmen zu hören, Schüsse und Autos. Da sah man noch Stiefel oder Halbschuhe. Doch sonst nichts. Stärker noch wirkte Gaza auf sie: nicht mehr als ein Keil vom Himmel, heißt es in einem Gedicht, eine in die Wüste festgefressene Staße. Die Stacheldrähte führen dich ihren eigenen Weg bis zum Ende. Kennst du den Tod? Bist Du die zerfressene Plastiktüte, die an den Stacheldrähten hängen geblieben ist?

Bei ihren Ausstellungen in den Räumen der Qattan-Stiftung in Ramallah werden diese Erfahrungen noch einmal geläuterrt. Der Raum wird nicht nur gestaltet. Er entwirft sich selbst als Gitterraster in Wort und Bild. Sebst der Boden nimmt den Riß auf, den Aurore Reinicke in ihrem Gedicht beschreibt. Gewiß, die Erfahrung der palästinensischen Wirklichkeit aus Stacheldraht und Grenzzaun wird in einem künstlich gekühlten Raum ästhetisch verfeinert. Schweiß und Blut scheinen abgewaschen. Vielleicht riecht es sogar nach Parfum. Eine Ordnung scheint die herrschenden Gitter bezwingen zu können. Tatsächlich greift Aurore Reinicke damit jedoch nur zu einer anderen Sprache, um dieselbe Botschaft loszuwerden. Der Feinfühlige mag weniger betroffen, der Fremde weniger gerührt zu werden. Diese geordnete Kunstsprache objektiviert zugleich die ätzende Erfahrung und macht sie gegenüber jenen weniger angreifbar, die Aurore Reinicke vorwerfen könnten, sie übertreibe mit ihren Erfahrungen der palästinensischen Wirklichkeit. Bei aller Läuterung, für die Besucher in den Ausstellungsräumen bleibt die Botschaft klar.

Aber Aurore Reinicke nimmt sich in diesen Räumen etwas zurück. Der weite Raum beginnt zu wirken, ihr Bild oder das Gedicht werden von ihm eingerahmt, in seine Grenzen gesetzt. Die Wirklichkeit der Drähte und Gitter erhält plötzlich ein neues versöhnlicher wirkendes Gesicht. Das paßt zu Aurore Reinicke; denn letzlich bleibt doch ein Lächeln über, eine Chance zur Versöhnung. Während sie noch den Stacheldraht zeichnet und in ihm gefangen scheint, träumt sie schon von einem bunten Netz, von einem orientalischen Tanz, von blassem Himmelsblau, von einem großen Saal ohne Soldaten. Aurore Reinicke bietet Hoffnung an, die Chance, daß sich diese Gitter, die das Leben in Haft zu nehmen scheinen, eines Tages doch in Wasser auflösen und vielleicht sogar eine verbindende Kraft bilden.

Aurore Reinicke nimmt gefangen, sie entläßt aber auch wieder, um tiefe Erfahrungen reicher.

Dr. Jörg Bremer; in Düsseldorf geboren; seit 1991 Korrespondent der Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung in Jerusalem; wurde über ein Thema zur Neueren Geschichte in Heidelberg promoviert. Autor mehrerer Bücher zu Polen, Israel und den palästinensischen Gebieten.

Jörg Bremer