Faller-Barris, Carola - VM - Patrik Scherrer
Carola Faller-Barris: Lonely Position
Fleeing the Past
by Patrik Scherrer
A young woman wearing a skirt, blouse, and sturdy pair of boots is running resolutely towards the left side of the collage with an expression of horror on her face. Her hands hold the straps of a backpack, but surprisingly these are attached to angels’ wings on her back. It looks as though she must keep hold of the wings, so that they will not be torn away by that from which she attempts to escape. By running she could already free herself from the upper part of the lace, but the rest continues to cling stubbornly to her left wing and the sole of her left shoe.
The title can refer to the woman, who, in her struggle against the structures that cling to her, makes a lonely attempt to move forward. It can also relate to the lace cloth, indicating that the woman was lonely in the life she leaves behind. (The German title is Einsame Spitze. Spitze can mean both ‘top’ or ‘point’ as well as ‘lace’).
The elongated threads of the fabric suggest that she has until recently been firmly attached to the lace. The pattern of her past has become a threat and a prison. The originally perfect, though rigid structure has apparently begun to hold her captive like a fly in a spiderweb. In order to be able to live and act according to her angel nature, she is compelled to flee in a panic, to decisively tear away from all that is familiar, and to dare take the leap into the darkness of the unknown.
The circles in the lace makes us suspect that her life has been going round and round, again and again. Did she need to break out in order to develop herself further? Impeded by the lace, she could not use her wings. But now she can flee and set herself free, whereby she can also ascend to new spheres. The darkness, however, cannot give an answer to the question where her flight will take her and how this new freedom will look.
But from where does she obtain the strength for this act of liberation? What gives her the wings to let go of everything? Is it the mental resolve that allows her to achieve the almost impossible? The firm conviction that another life must be possible? A life lived in freedom, to which she herself can give shape? Perhaps she, just like blind Bartimaeus, implored Jesus for a new life and received his answer: “Go! Your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52).
In that case, the flight from the past – because the lace does not only represent the handiwork and the lifestyle of our ancestors but also the structures and traditions that gave shape to their lives – could not succeed by her own efforts but, as the wings indicate, by the close connection with God. The remaining threads that have not let go show us that we can never throw off our past completely, that it will always be a part of our life and influence us. How we look at that and how we deal with it will be changed and relativised by our faith in Jesus.
Jesus himself answers Peter’s question, “Who then can be saved?” with: “Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:29-31).
That is the lonely position.
Carola Faller-Barris, Lonely Position (Einsame Spitze), 2022, acrylic paint and collage on paper, 48,3 x 31,7 cm. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023.
This visual meditation was originally written in German by Patrik Scherrer and published in Bildimpuls on 21 January 2023. See https://www.bildimpuls.de/bildimpulsart/einsame-spitze/#void. For another visual meditation by Scherrer on the work of Faller-Barris see: https://www.bildimpuls.de/bildimpulsart/spitzenidee/
Carola Faller-Barris (1964) grew up in Freiburg in Germany. She studied at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, as well as art education and Catholic theology in Mainz, Germany. Subsequently she taught art and religion at a secondary school. She has been working as a freelance artist since 2003. The focus of her artistic work is drawing expanded into three-dimensional works, revolving around themes like demarcation and openness, remaining and leaving, death and transformation. Tying in with her interest in art and theology, she is especially occupied with mythical and religious themes and the dialogue between art and religion. https://www.faller-barris.de
Patrik Scherrer is the driving force behind the German website Bildimpuls. Every fortnight he sends out a ‘Bildimpuls’. In these art meditations he focuses on religious contemporary art from Germany, Switzerland and Austria from a Christian faith perspective. He studied theology and works with mentally handicapped persons. His book Gott in Sicht? 33 Impulse zum christlichen Glauben aus der Pinakothek der Moderne (Schnell & Steiner, 2005), explores works of art from the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, including those by Klee, Kandinsky, Kirchner and Picasso to Warhol and more, that convey challenges and impulses for Christian thought and faith. The Bildimpuls website features an abundance of information about artists, books, museums, exhibitions, and organizations. Visit www.bildimpuls.de
On October 25 this year (2023) Patrik Scherrer has sent out a ‘Bildimpuls’ every fortnight for twenty years. ArtWay congratulates him with his faithful work to make contemporary art of faith known and accessible.
ArtWay Visual Meditation 8 October 2023