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LAND – WAKING THE INSIDE

Nadine Ethner´s work is the fruit of a process of free artistic development. Unfolding over the past several years, it was born out of experiences gained while working, discoveries made while traveling — particularly in the Orient — as well as through emotional experiences, combined with her great sensitivity as an artist and a woman. She has spent considerable time exploring the world´s great cities, including Berlin, Osaka, Mumbai and Istanbul … Her newest work, Land – Waking the Inside, offers a very different view.

Twentieth century art sought to study people as social creatures, but today this search has split up into many different forms of artistic expression, some of which have developed into very personal narratives that are not always easily understood. Ethner sees the world and our time through her own personal filter, and in this project she uncovers a deep connection to nature and to the search for herself.

The work reflects her search for her identity as a person and the roots of that person, a person in a complex, cherished ecosystem. Photography is her means of expressing her connection with natural spaces (forests, lakes, mountains), which she experiences as dream spaces. This changes those spaces to archetypes that could speak for nearly anyone. At the same time, she also rediscovers her own history. Having traversed the ravines of Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia and passed by the stone walls and sturdy trees that have looked proudly over their charming valleys for centuries, she has infused these images with a very particular cultural heritage that originated from German Romanticism. 

At a time when the world is beginning to realize the wounds it has inflicted on the Earth, many of which seem irreversible, Ethner´s photographs engage us in a conversation with unspoiled nature. Her pictures cause us listen to what is going on inside us, all but inviting us to be still and meditate in the shadow of the immenseness of nature — which asks us only to be allowed to be born, live and die according to its natural rhythm. This cycle takes it closer to femininity with its never-ending series of rebirths, its winters and springs. The large-format images manage to pull us in, into the hills of Calcata, through the forests of Naumburg, back to the land of the Etruscans, where Ethner trekked. Her colors are both powerful and gentle, filters that she placed over her own eyes; and her shapes are abstract, just as they are in nature: images from dreams that became reality, that took on visible form in her spirit and were passed on to us as photographs. 

Cristiana Raffa 

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Dear Nadine, 

we have written each other many text messages, and now the lines you asked me to send you are taking the form of a letter. As for what I think about your photos, which I had never seen until now : They are among the best depictions of a “quirk” that I have ever encountered, a quirk enveloped in utter beauty. Nostalgia, melancholy, twilight, loneliness? Or a couple’s intense, deeply felt love for one another, which shuts out the world and makes them as sad as if they were alone as one? No, I go too far; the joy of living is in these dark shadows as well - and the hope that is reserved for but a few, like us. The chosen ones. What a word! But art has always been one for grand words. You have no trouble accepting them because you are an artist. As Bernini did in his self-portrait, which shows a man looking at his face in the mirror in astonishment, as if seeing a hallucination, so too do you depict the condition of your soul with striking accuracy. Each one of us has a soul with a specific identity. The gentle person that you are on the outside (the simple mask that you wear as you move through life is misleading) is not the same as the genuine, deep person inside. Whether very beautiful or very ugly (there is no difference), something profound has happened. And you bring it across, because you are an artist who expresses herself in beauty, for her own pleasure. The very best wishes from the bottom of my heart! 

Albertina Archibugi