The starting point of the German artist Jürgen Partenheimer’s series of work called «One Hundred Poets» is, as the title (almost) tell us … poetry. «One Hundred Poets» is inspired by the body of work of the same title by Katsushika Hokusai and refers to 100 poems selected by Jürgen Partenheimer from his 100 favorite poets of different times and cultures. Unlike Hokusai, Partenheimer doesn’t refer back to a canonistic collection of poems. Instead, he has chosen poems that he has come across throughout his long-standing interest in poetry .
I heard an elf go whistling by,
A whistle sleek as moonlit grass,
That drew me like a silver string
To where the dusty, pale moths fly,
And make a magic as they pass;
And there I heard a cricket sing.
His singing echoed through and through
The dark under a windy tree
Where glinted little insects’ wings.
His singing split the sky in two.
The halves fell either side of me,
And I stood straight, bright with moon-rings.
– Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
Unlike a more traditional exegesis, Partenheimer’s intention is not to explain the poem, but rather to lead it through a subtle transformation. He is, one could say, performing a reversed ekphrasis.
With his abstract pictorial language, which keeps the search for meaning, shaping and dissolution in constant flow, the artist attempts to rephrase … or visualize … what cannot be said in words.