Barbara Collinet

born in Berlin

1984 - 1987      studied painting at the Berlin University of Arts
1991 - 1994       studied stage design at the theatre school "Etage" Berlin with Roger Servais and Andre Woronic
1996 - 1998      postgraduate studies cultural education at the Berlin University of Arts

lives and works in Berlin

Colour, Beauty, Decay and Metamorphose

Barbara Collinets drawings between human nudes and wondrous creatures

by Sebastian Schwarzenberger

A particular object can be found in many of her art pieces: a shopping trolley. It is a symbol of society, nowadays more than ever. We can do without many things, but shopping is a must. It’s not only essential for life but for many people – especially the elderly – shopping with a shopping trolley is the gateway to the world outside their private sphere. It’s the best way to the “special offers”, “monster shopping” or the “animal shopping”, as Barbara Collinet describes it. Collinets pieces can indeed be understood as critical of society. She, however, does not put groceries or everyday items in her shopping trolley. Instead, she brings animals and hybrid beings from the real of consumerism to the centre of her pictures. They appear mighty and threatening, even death himself lurks on one shopping trolley. But not always, then also hope arises from shopping trolleys, encounters, family shopping and erotic shopping. Life itself, in all its glory, appears in the shopping cart.

An original motive, because the shopping trolley has rarely been a theme in the history of art. On the one hand, this is of course due to the fact that it hasn’t been around for long. On the other hand, it’s an inconspicuous part of the consumer world that rarely achieves fame and honour, seemingly banal. At best one might remember the motive of a shopping trolley in free fall by Banksy or Duane Hansons lifelike sculpture of the supermarket lady with her shopping cart and curlers.

Most of the time, the graphic character is preserved in the small and large format artworks by Barbara Collinet. She drew nudes for many years, which was important training for her and remains a connecting aspect between most of her works to this day. Most of the beings brought to life by her reed pen appear naked on the canvas; they seem to consist of skin and bones and the same biomorphic shapes. Now and then downright skeletal, rarely covered with light clothing. The contours seem hard to grasp, with watercolour paint often blurring the motive even further. In addition to shopping, the artist captures snapshot, scenes from life, from the stage or the film. At the bar, the encounter during shopping, while doing sports – in the centre of the representation are almost always figures who seem to be passing through. A background or room is only hinted at in a minimalist way, if at all. Collinet breathes new life into the ancient technique of reed pen drawing. She brings them into a large format and thus places drawing on the same level as painting.

Barbara Collinet was inspired by the shopping cart for many of her reed pen drawings on canvas. It gives the wondrous beings that populate these canvases support and a stage. For the more recent works, the artist was inspired by gauze that she discovered in construction sites. She stretches this almost transparent gauze in a stretcher frame and applies a specially made mass. With a particular oil mixing technique, she can already inscribe an ageing process into a new paint application. With this technique, nude motives portray the ageing process not only in the subject of ageing bodies but also in the paint itself. In addition, she integrates discarded clothes hangers, for her a basic form of everyday life like the shopping cart, which is a symbol of numerous worn items of clothing and, correspondingly, past states of life. And so, the form and content of these works come into harmony. She herself formulate it as follows: “By including transience in the process of creation, new expressions are possible that use the organic language of nature. And so, my works are directed less towards the head/intellect than towards the gut / the senses of the respective viewer – they do not convey rational values but feelings. They do not have a sterile effect on the room, because nature does not either.”

Barbara Collinet mixes her colours carefully and the manner of application – mostly with small plastic bottles – is specific. For her the colour palette is broad: “We wouldn’t eat the same thing every day” is her comment.

In her work, the artist Barbara Collinet combines her experiences from three courses. After studying painting at the Berlin University of Arts (1984-1987), from 1991 to 1994 she studied stage design at the “Etage” theatre school in Berlin with Roger Servais and Andre Woronic. From 1996 to 1998 she completed a postgraduate course in cultural education at the Berlin University of the Arts. Not only her knowledge of free painting, stage design and pedagogy have shaped her work, but also the city in which she has spent the last few decades. Morbid depictions centred around the bony beings or the nude, real found items such as shopping carts and gauze are only the tip of the iceberg.

2021  Galerie 100
2018  Mirage, Berlin
2007  Art Center Berlin „Kunst aus Korea und Deutschland“
2006  Galerie Son, Berlin
2005  Galerie Emerson, Berlin
2004  Galerie  L. Richter, Hannover
1999  Vorstellung von Arbeiten in der Sendung „Spiegel TV“, „wa(h)re Liebe“
1998  Galerie West, Bern
1997  Galerie am Festungsgraben und Saalbaugalerie, Berlin
1996  Stadtgalerie Riesa, Riesa
1996  Stadtbibliothek Berlin
1996  miniature art biennale, Villa Marie, Quebec
1996  Museum und Kunstsammlung Glachau
1996  Galerie Nothelfer/Giesler, Berlin
1996  Stadtgalerie Riesa
1995  Französischer Dom Berlin
1994  Gallery Chapman Manchester
1994  Maskenprojekt „Liebe“ Tanztheater im Tacheles
1993  Galerie Acud Berlin
1991  Eastsidegallery Berlin