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Künstlerportrait: Ernestine Faux 

the life and work of Ernestine Faux

ein Interview von Artistcloseup


Artist Portrait: Ernestine Faux 

Art Spaces | Exhibitions

a movie by Ramon Pachernegg


Colour is a universal, non-verbal language and, of course, we all know quite intuitively how to speak it. For me, colour is merely an aid in achieving a higher goal; an instrument for eliciting a basic human emotion, a form of translation from complexity to simplicity. I share the goal in my artworks. A mission in art that sees to expand human consciousness and to reach beyond the subjectivitiy presented by any form of expressionism or illusionism.

In my work, I explore, observe and experiment with the contemplative power of colours and their sound. My CHROMATICS, which I started working on in 2014/15, is a vivid example of a work of art in which the compositon is investigated to its very core, thus becoming ROOMS of COLOURS in SOUND – SEE THE SOUND and HEAR THE COLOURS.

At the beginning of each of my paintings is the blank, pure, empty space of nothingness. My studio space, the canvas and me. I get focused and start painting from that center inside me. Complementary colour undercoats are selected and applied, building up various layers of colours until the phenomenon of an AFTER-IMAGE apears for me. As for instance, I see a red light and close my eyes, there´s an after-image and that´s green. At the same time another phenomenon reveals itself to me. As soon as the colour coats get applied they vibrate in its purest luminous form, almost like light to me. I hear a humming sound-frequency that I call AFTER- SOUND as knonw by synaesthets. So its a matter of evoking a lucid world, a clean, aesthetic, perhaps a transcendental, spiritual world through the alchemy of colours.

„Our response to colours reflects our reaction towards life. Colours we feel attracted to refer to areas in our life where we feel good. Colours we dismiss point to experiences we try to keep in the dark from ourself. Ernestine Faux´s Cycle „ Chromatics“ is a portal to our inner self.“

Dr. Jacob Liebermann, Opthalmologist, Coach and Author, USA.


Images are first and foremost sources of energy and everything else follows.
Raimer Jochims

When standing before a painting by Austrian artist ERNESTINE FAUX, you are suddenly challenged to re-examine the possibilities and fascination entailed in seeing. Where the eye succeeds in entering a contemplative dialogue with the painting, seeing becomes perceiving and perception becomes sensation: ‘a sensation of colour and light’. Calling forth such a sensation, using colour fields, spaces and colour relationships, represents in my view the main subject and the central visual event in this artist’s paintings.

Painters concerned with the subject of light and colour, or better ‘light as colour’, are generally involved with two colour systems that are by nature highly distinct from each other – ‘object colours’ and ‘painted colours’. Whilst one derives from nature (i.e. the colour appearance of illuminated objects), the other requires artistic endeavour: unable to reproduce light, the painter has to translate it into the colours on her pallet.

This dichotomy, and the resulting fundamental distinctiveness of nature compared with the painting, is what Cezanne seems to be referring to in his letter to his friend Emile: “Light does not exist for the painter.” With this remark Cezanne is alluding to the fact that, as a painter, the pigments on his pallet are all that he has to create and produce all the sensations of light that he seeks to capture in his painting. To create this perceptual field, the painter invents an image space and structures it in such a way, that the interplay of colours gives rise to the impression of light.

It seems to me that the paintings of ERNESTINE FAUX are rooted precisely in this challenge and in this quest. On the threshold of her image space, the viewer is usually greeted by simple geometrical shapes, painted with great precision in some cases and more softly and diffusely in others: circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, rhombuses, waves, stripes, lines, parallelograms etc. Yet these ‘basics on form’ rarely appear as monochrome solids, but more often as a seemingly picturesque inner structure resulting mainly from a richly nuanced gradient composed of varying shades of grey. Even the titles of the various cycles of work lead one to expect that the artist has an emotional repertoire that is equally rich in nuances: ‘glossy colour’, ‘portals’, ‘places’, ‘waves’, ‘diamonds’, ‘heart rhythm’ etc.

Specifically because the primary themes of her paintings are light and colour, or ‘light as colour’, the artist reduces the grammar of her image language to the level of basic geometric shapes and focuses on the relative effect of the shapes’ colours. (As well as on how one colour absorbs and modifies another nearby coloured area.) Opposites such as light and dark are attenuated by the colour gradient and appear integrated within the unity of the shape as depicted. At the same time the geometric elements are subtly contrasted with an abundance of nuances, making the paintings appear as if to vibrate. To the elements of the painting, which would otherwise appear inert and stable, the artist introduces a quality that creates the impression of movement among immovable objects. Beyond that, it would seem that the paintings of ERNESTINE FAUX brighten up or illuminate more than just the wall or corner where they are hung or stand. This presumably results from the artist’s profound knowledge of and belief in the metaphysical dimension of colours and shapes, as well as the many years she has spent investigating the interactive effects of colour, light and sound.

In some cases her paintings could also be seen as musical scores made visually perceptible. This is an indication of a musical component that would seemingly hold the work together from the inside. This inevitably brings us to the notion of synaesthesia, i.e. the ability to recognise colour or shape in sounds and to ‘hear’ sounds in colours. All of the artist’s paintings similarly allude to a deep, mysterious realm formed by a balance of vibrations, between gravity and weightlessness, openness and restriction, density and transparency, image space and image time.

The colour fields or light stripes – which themselves belong to the fundamental forms of paintings – furnish the works with a timeless, universal quality and lend themselves to repetition. As elements used to compose the mood structure of the painting, these forms simultaneously support and counteract the unstable, volatile character of the colours. Every area, every stripe and every shape has an individual identity. Taking a step back, the colours begin to interact. And viewed from an even greater distance, the fields reveal themselves as specific contemplative harmonies, interspersed with subtle contrasts. The basic compositional elements of this artwork are similarly ruled by inversion, repetition, reflection, dissolution and intensification. Despite the geometric and analytical approach to structuring the paintings, colour is employed as an expression of freedom during the painting process.

Especially where light and darkness appear to mutually penetrate, giving rise to a twilight space, this artwork creates a place of ‘vibrational balance’ (R. Jochims), characterised by neither brightness nor darkness per se but by a balance between appearing and disappearing. While experiencing these visual sensations in the paintings of ERNESTINE FAUX, the viewer becomes aware that the work carry within them the dimensions of their existence. With their sensory and contemplative means, they take the viewer captive. For all with eyes to see, they confidently lift the veil enshrouding intuition, alluding to that splendour, to which seeing alone holds the key.

Vienna, October 2015