Les Portes ouvertes

The most recent project of sculptor and painter Bernd Engberding started in 2005 and was inspired by a visit to the borderland between France and Italy. Doors as an allegory of transfer between countries and cultures. Doors moreover as a metaphor for intertwining the past with the future, a theme which has engaged Engberding for a long time.

For his new project Engberding has once more chosen wood. This time though, not untreated, virgin wood, but used material, doors with traces of their own past. From these have emerged works of mystical poetry. Within a cycle of 36 doors, each door reveals its own story. Furthermore, Engberding has detailed single sections of doors in small format print, his characteristic polychromatic technique.

The creative panorama of the »Les Portes ouvertes« associates South of France cave paintings, old Egyptian hieroglyphics, stone age and antique sculptures as well as fantastic symbolism. Human figures, radically reduced to strokes, populate imaginary rooms. Next to complete-bodied figures – playing children, acrobats, flag carriers – torsos, mythical and strange figures are to be found, from a seemingly extraterrestrial cosmos. Accompanying these are diverse types of animals, numerous saurians together with beetles situated in illusionary river or mountain land-scapes. They all embody the personnel with which Engberding narrates his inventive stories.

The recurring theme of Bernd Engberding’s œuvre, human communication, continues in a reduced form in his les portes ouvertes. Indeed, all employed actors present themselves in mutual activity, however, intensive contact appears to be of secondary importance. Intertwining, direct contact or overlapping of the related individuals is few and far between. In spite of that, atmos-pheric gravity is not identifable. Instead, Bernd Engberding’s narrative doors appear playful. Their ornate characters call out to be deciphered by the observer. Doors as a poetic quiz – this is the fascinating attraction of Les Portes ouvertes.