On 20 May 2017, the Pashmin Art Gallery Hamburg celebrated the 80th birthday of the established artist Helga Kreuzritter with the vernissage “The world of Helga Kreuzritter – Five Decades of Sculpting and Painting”.

Below you can read an excerpt from the speech given at the opening of the exhibition by the art critic Dr. Peter Schütt.

Helga Kreuzritter’s artistic work is characterised by an ingenious variety of forms. It includes caricatures, drawings, paintings, relief works, collages, pastels, gouaches, watercolours, coloured inks, material pictures, montages, objects, graffiti, bronzes, aluminium paintings, sculptures and installations. The transitions from one art form to another are fluid. She creates mixed media works of incomparable originality in a manner reminiscent of Beuys. What she creates is virtually everything from scrap. She uses waste materials such as scrap wood, tree roots preserved in a bog, flotsam and jetsam and chance finds from the roadside, boards and slats, sheets of plywood, shards of ceramics and glass, plastic waste, newspaper clippings, paper notes, Plexiglas, aluminium and rusty iron. She reassembles dead materials and brings them back to life. She is an alchemical sorceress, she is a master of artistic recycling, she transforms scrap into silver and gold.

For all the sharpness of her critical and satirical eye: Helga Kreuzritter’s art objects are never evil, mischievous or even malicious. On the contrary: they are imbued with love and mercy, with love for people, animals and nature. The pollution and destruction of the natural environment was on her artistic agenda very early on, still in the seventies. From the very beginning, her entire attention has been focused on animals. They are not humanised or trivialised, but portrayed as living beings of their own kind, on an equal footing with members of the human race.

Helga Kreuzritter turns to her fellow human beings with equal attention, sometimes with a wink and sometimes with gentle irony. Her portraits of people – they concern far more women than men – always have a personal reference. When she portrays others, she always means a little bit of herself. That is why her mockery is never contemptuous of humanity.

Even if the first impression may sometimes be deceptive: Helga Kreuzritter’s work is by no means based on a pessimistic world view and exaggerated fears of doom. If you look more closely, you are surprised by the abundance of positive signals. Hope is a basic motif of her entire artistic oeuvre. She wants to encourage her viewers to set out for new shores. She takes her signs of hope from seafaring. She equips her ships with towering sails, she sets off into the boundless with a forest of masts, and again and again she sends boats out into the open sea as bearers of hope. She wants to take us, the viewers and admirers of her works, on a journey into the fantastic realm of her art.