Ovitz is a Jewish family name

Sculptor Anna Franziska Schwarzbach : Reach for the sky

In Anna Franziska Schwarzbach's garden, it smells of autumn. A gnarled apple tree in the middle has already shaken off its fruits. And there they are now, neatly heaped around the trunk. Schwarzbach makes no move to pick them up. She prefers to look at the reddish-yellow still life in the warm morning sun from the stone terrace. “The summer was too hot,” she says, brushing a gray strand back into the topknot at the back of her head. Too hot for what, she doesn't say.

Your studio is adjacent to the residential building in Berlin-Weißensee. An old homestead with burgundy-red brick tiles and a wooden roof gable, which is surrounded by a high fence and which her husband has been trying to renovate for years. The man in front of it was desperate and fled to the West, she says. “It looks a little very bad right now. There is simply no more space. ”The winter garden-like workroom is cramped. Reinforcements, rough wooden blocks and all kinds of equipment crowd together. In between, the finished and the unfinished, hulls, torsos, casts, plaster heads, small sculptures, loose sketch sheets. A mess. Anything that doesn't fit into the studio is distributed along the facade of the house, in the courtyard, in the garden, where 30 wild cats used to roam between lush nettle bushes.

Schwarzbach was inspired by Schadow's group of princesses

Anna Franziska Schwarzbach is a sculptor. A squat woman with narrow lips and a bright smile. The work of the 66-year-olds can currently be seen in the side wing of the Schadow House in Berlin. Contemporary artists react here to the classicist work of Johann Gottfried Schadow. Schwarzbach has chosen Schadow's group of princesses, the iconic double sculpture of Luise von Prussia and her younger sister Friederike. Their counterparts are portraits of the Ovitz family, a Jewish showman troupe from Maramures, a small village in northern Romania. Seven of the ten children were short, which is why the artist family was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944 and subjected to the studies of the camp doctor Josef Mengele.

The body is at the center of Schwarzbach's work. It's about proportion and the relationship between norm and ideal. The artist does not understand beauty in the conventional sense and thus builds a bridge to Schadow, who at the time was heavily criticized for his naturalistic representation.

Schwarzbach's portraits of the siblings Rosika, Franziska, Avram, Frieda, Mordechai, Elisabeth and Perla are idiosyncratic and very sensitive. The artist has distributed the sculptures in the gallery rooms on plinths. Each for itself. Few details are colored, parts of the robe, hair, mouths and eyes. But Schwarzbach actually leaves the material, the paper mache, the plaster, the bronze, the iron as it is. She attacks it expressively, quickly, intuitively. She wants the surface to work, light and shadow. She simply calls the result: baroque. "For me, everything starts with this chaos in my head," says Schwarzbach, whose glasses sit far forward on the tip of the nose. “You sit there with a lump of wax, kneading and making and hearing and thinking. It is really not more than that. "

She came to Berlin in 1968 and initially studied architecture

She has always loved little guys, she says. Schwarzbach has taken a seat at a wooden table on the terrace, her husband is serving a plate of watermelon wedges. In 1968 she came to Berlin, studied architecture at the Kunsthochschule in Weißensee and then worked at the Palace of the Republic until 1975. But somehow that wasn't the right thing to do, which is why she went on to study portrait sculpture in the evening. Since then she has been working as a freelance sculptor. In the eighties she often sat in the studio of Hans Scheib, Anatol Erdmann and Stefan Reichmann on Raumerstraße in Prenzlauer Berg. Back then there was only one topic: Alberto Giacometti. His elongated figures were the absolute idol. She points to a woman sculpture behind her. Your limbs are also severely hyperextended. Only: She is crouching. "I always pushed my figures down to one meter," says Schwarzbach. "I didn't like the big ones."

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