Excerpt from Angela Sommer-Bodenburg´s Artist´s Talk given on August 22, 1996, at the ARVEDA Studio and Gallery, La Jolla, California.


..."I would like to focus on two aspects one would find in my poetry, novels, and paintings. That is: LIGHT and that is: LOVE. However, there is no light without darkness, and there is no love without not being loved enough or even worse, not being loved at all.


So I would like to begin with darkness by reading one of my poems which were first published in 1979 by Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt/Germany, under the title "Sarah bei den Wölfen" (translated as: Sarah with the Wolves)




I have dug pathways

for years

always further away

from the light


until I grew a fur coat

from head to toe

and my fingers bent themselves

into claws


Now though

as I slowly

go blind


I feel

a longing

for light


 (Translation by Daniel Atkinson) 


This longing for light is one of my strongest feelings. It goes way back to my childhood and has always been the force behind my creativity ever since. When I was a little girl, my mother used to punish me by locking me in the bathroom. It was a very small and narrow room without a window. My mother would turn off the only light in this room, and I would stay there alone in the dark with nobody to talk to.

But not for long. My fantasy and imagination would set me free: My hands would turn into two elephants who would talk to each other, and I would fly on them to India, towards the blue sky into the brightest light where it was warm and cozy and peaceful, until the door to the bathroom would be opened again...

Particularly these kinds of experience in my childhood had inspired me most when I created the following paintings:


© by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg


© by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg


© by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg




God´s Littlest Angel is one of my favorite paintings. When it was finished, it was this painting that encouraged me to write a novel about God´s Littlest Angel. Thus, I would add a book to the painting. The title of the book is Hanna, God´s Littlest Angel and it was first published in 1995 by K. Thienemanns Verlag, Stuttgart/Germany. My painting God´s Littlest Angel is part of the title illustration of the book.

The novel Hanna, God´s Littlest Angel is kind of autobiographical and deals with darkness and light, love and hate from the perspective of a five year old little girl.


Another aspect of my writing and painting is the use of irony. Irony has always been present in my poems and paintings. It helps smoothing the edges which might otherwise hurt people´s feelings.

One example of how I use irony in my poetry is from the book "Sarah bei den Wölfen" (translated as: Sarah with the Wolves), published in 1979 by Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt/Germany.





Just come to me!

Don´t worry

I´m made of stone


Only, I have a split in my middle

now I fall into pieces

do you hear?


I clatter

that´s funny


(Translation by Daniel Atkinson) 



And as for the irony depicted in my paintings, I would like to show the following paintings:


© by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg


© by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg


© by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg



....which brings me to the end of my Artist´s Talk..."



La Jolla, August 22, 1996     


Angela Sommer-Bodenburg