Schreine I

   

Shrines

Since quite some time Ute Wennrich has been engaged in creating shrines. Her 3- dimensional objects enclose spaces or bodies, describe places and at the same time, communicate with their surroundings.
The works she presents are made of wax and are palpable sheaths of imaginary interiors, suggesting dreams and memories and telling stories about life and death. Or as Bachelard puts it:
"In the box there are memorable things, memorable for us but also for those to whom we will pass on our treasures. The box contains the past, the present and the future being knitted together and this way forming a cluster of all things that have always been, that are and that are to come."
The ambivalence of the symbolic traditionally ascribed to the material wax, perfectly captures the memorial character of the art objects.
Not only is wax strongly related to ancient death cult traditions, it has always implied vitality as well. The morpheme "ker" in "keros", Greek for wax, stands for life, soul, and heart.
In medieval times the bee was regarded as sacred and in many religions beeswax was considered a kind of magical substance connected both to the Here and Now as to the Netherworld.

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When heated wax becomes liquid, it sends out enormous warmth and vital energy. In a cold and solid state it turns brittle and very fragile, but it softens when held in the hand – all in all, a material that expresses the idea of value.
So the reasons for choosing wax with its special texture for the shrines are twofold. On one hand, it represents the contradictions between life energy and death, on the other, it stands for the action of remembering and for preserving the memory of something valuable beyond death.