Artwork of the month July

Gloria Friedmann, Nocturne, 1990

Gloria Friedmann

* 1950 in Kronach, Germany

Nocturne, 1990

Raven's feathers, wood

180 x 110 x 5 cm

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz

Gloria Friedmann's piece Nocturne incorporates jet­black raven's feathers into the image. The plumage shiny and soft, the quill hard and exible, they lend the work a mysterious and powerful aspect. Yet with its graceful curves, the arrangement of this natural material has the appearance of a painterly gesture. At the same time, the title Nocturne hints at the realm of music. A nocturne is an elegiac or dreamy character piece. Whereas in the baroque period its formal structure was not clearly de ned, in the Romantic age the term was commonly associated with an entertaining, cantabile composition inspired by the night for piano. In the art of the Romantic period, the threshold to darkness – the nocturnal – is charged with diverse symbolism.

"I give maximum room to the emotions evoked by the various materials and their hidden connection with past times. Earth, stone, wood, animal skins, oil and wine are ancient symbols that call up philosophical dogmas and primal spiritual images whose meaning appears to have been lost – a kind of poetic philosophy", as the artist observes. The theme of the raven and its "feathered gift" is a powerful symbol in numerous myths, religions and legends. For the Celts, for instance, the black bird was an oracle animal, while in Indian myth it is regarded as a symbol of divine power and creation. In Christianity, in contrast, the raven is associated among other things with the symbolically frightening night, a metaphor of the "evil" to be driven away. Raven's feathers in particular are believed to help cross over into twilight zones and to cross thresholds.

With the aid of her conceptual composition Friedmann takes the viewer to the diverse narratives in our cultural memory associated with the transition from day to night – nightfall. Human existence as part of and hence affected by nature, responsibly linked to it in all respects – this is the theme that runs like a red thread through Gloria Friedmann's oeuvre: "Part of nature, I myself am nature and at the same time myself".

Denise Rigaud


<b>Gloria Friedmann, Nocturne, 1990
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.