Seem Strongly Earthbound
»My African Soul«
Peter Herrmann Gallery makes balance the theme
By Robert Meyer
Out of the earth into the heavens! Connection somehow streams out of Ubbo Enninga’s figures. They seem strongly earthbound, but without remaining stuck to the ground. The figures are far removed from incompleteness – they have a strength over and above themselves. As if the earth stretches her hand above Enninga’s figures to the heavens. Living in Stuttgart, with Friesish roots and married to an Afro-American, the artist places the human being in the center of his work. In »My African Soul«, running until 5 August in the Peter Herrmann Gallery, Enninga encompasses the African anthropos, portrays it in realistic representations and in mystical reference. One sees portraits and figures in clay, iron, and bronze.
There is a primitive strength in Enninga’s figures which one can hardly ignore, a constant energy, nothing fleeting or transient. One wants to touch some of the figures. Even moreso, one would like to hear them, give them a voice so that they can tell their story. Something else is noteworthy: this art is completely without arrogance. The theme »rooted« goes through the artisit’s entire sculptural creations, it is the aspect which gives the figures that which one could call »African wisdom«. Material basis and head – for Enninga a symbiosis. Spirit – symbolised by the head – stands for the portal to the cosmos. The spirit, though, needs a fundament, a firm anchor from which it develops. In this sense, an important African experience of the last few hundred years is expressed. Stabil basis and peace are necessary for positive development. Ubbo Enninga wants to even-out opposites. The age-old drama of the right relationship between Spirit and Body, Heaven and Earth is made clear by a figure which hangs in the gallery’s first floor: one of two identical male figures kneels with outstretched arms on a platform, the second hangs upside-down in one of the circle-formed holes. The theme Above and Below is found here not only in the line of sight of both figures. It is also shown in the hand position and especially emphasised with colour. European artists whose work has an African theme are periodically shown in the gallery. This co-operation is preliminary work for an exchange project of exhibitions in African countries as well as here.
Neues Deutschland, Juli 17, 2006
Just As The Original Mona Lisa
Just as the original Mona Lisa, the Veronika Jüngst by Enninga gazes directly in the viewer’s eye – regardless from which direction one looks at the artwork.
mal, Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine, July 9, 2005
Still-Life On Lake Constance
Still-life on Lake Constance ... The figure »El Niño« in Radolfzell wins irritated glances ... sometimes also jealous glances.
Süddeutsche Zeitung, June 27, 2003
 
Support And Earthbound
... support and earthbound, going to the roots – these are aspects which are found throughout the entire sculptural work of the Stuttgart artist, Ubbo Enninga ... Spirit, symbolised by the head, means, according to the artist, the gate to the cosmos, to transcendance. In order to expand, the spirit needs a stabil material fundament, a support anchor. It finds this in the nude European woman, a white face opposite the faces of an African woman and man. Enninga’s conversation between Europe and Africa enhances the meaning of the unity between body and spirit as documented in his figures: the picture of unity is »one in all cultures«.
Alexia Sailer, Südkurier, January 24, 2003
 
Ferdinand Porsche
... His commissions have a wide span. A relief in remembrance of Ferdinand Porsche, the inventor of the VW »Bug«. And portraits of former parliamentary presidents Erich Schneider and Lothe Gaa stand in the Stuttgart Parliament House. His work is seen throughout Germany, between Hamburg and Munich – for example, by the Triennale in Fellbach, the Great Art Exhibition in Munich and in the Württemberg Art Association in Stuttgart. He has also exhibited in Paris. The list of exhibitions is long. ...
Eva Schäfer, Cannstatter Rundschau, Januay 22, 2003
 
Wangen Soul Memorial
The city and the congregation of St. Martin’s Church has found in Ubbo Enninga a very sensitive, but also strong and dedicated man for the job of erecting a »Wangen Soul Memorial«. At the same time, the clergy is rather surprised that the overspills from the casting of the figure should remain.
Vera Stiller, Schwäbische Zeitung, May 28, 2002
 
Bonifacius Plaster Model
Many stairs must be climbed to reach the Bonifacius in the Grey Tower, but it’s worth it. The original Bonifacius plaster model - made by the artist Ubbo Enninga - from which the bronze on the Cathedral Square was cast, now stands on the highest platform of Germany’s highest defense tower.
zzp, Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine, November 6, 2001
 
Neoarchaic Giants
Neoarchaic giants of form in wood and metal are unleashed by the Stuttgart artist Ubbo Enninga ... The huge, hollow trunk of an African wana-tree, cut lengthwise, stands guard with speechless majesty over Enninga’s exhibit.
Georg Leisten, Stuttgarter Zeitung, May 22, 2001
 
Archbishop Dyba
He was last here a year ago for the Bonifacius festival. Archbishop Dyba was very impressed by the memorial on the cathedral square, Conrad recalls. He (the Archbishop) spoke his highest praise in a smaller circle of listeners.
rgb, Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine, July 24, 2000
 
Strangely Foreign
... strangely foreign, mystical, very typified heads, worked out of a piece of heavy, hard padouk wood. Enninga’s art is strong.
Karin Derstroff, Donaukurier, July 11, 2000
 
Deeper Levels Of Insight
Enninga practices simplicity. Simplicity means making exceptional that which is »normal«. The artist speaks to deeper levels of insight ...
Wilhelm Baumgärtner, Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung, February 1, 2000
 
Dreampath
Dreampath ... Ubbo Enninga shows the progression of flowing, melting, unformed and unbound material to a creative form in his splashing tin-casting titled »El Niño«. This name brings to mind unleashed elements, an uncalculable and, in the end, also untameable nature. The human being stands opposite as the created, the metamorphosis and the creator as well.
Christian Stolz, Stuttgarter Zeitung, September 9, 1999
 
Community-Feeling
The people of Fritzlar took their Bonifacius into their hearts with much recognition and sympathy in the course of a small community festival. Enninga has obviously created a work which promotes community-feeling ... and a special highlight for the city-jubilee. The sculpture by the Stuttgart artist has the potential of strengthening the »we-feeling« among the population of Fritzlar.
asz, Hessische/Niedersächsische Allgemeine, June 7, 1999
 
Out Of Balance
A human being thrown out of balance ... »Elcilyn« reigns over the space. Ubbo Enninga poses the phenomenon of the human being. In the perplexing character studies of human vulnerability, the question arises of how we deal with an inner balance.
Michaela Adick, Heilbronner Stimme, August 13, 1998
 
Lovers
With »Lovers«, a sculpture conveying sensitive emotions; with »Eros«, an exaggerated penis; with »Pregnant« and »Birth«, Ubbo Enninga, with his strongly formed figures, touches on a theme which is as old as humanity.
Gudrun Gscheidle-Katz, Haller Tagblatt, January 14, 1998
 
Order And Chaos
Ubbo Enninga holds with Paul Valery’s two worlds: one is order, the other is chaos ... he refuses them the smoothness of order by making the chaos from which they were born visible. That irritates, but it also reveals a knowledge of the physical expression in psychic, existential conditions ... full of sensuality and statuesque dignity.
Monique Cantré, Reutlinger General-Anzeiger, November 27, 1997
 
No Shiny Marble Pathos
The university honors former rector Professor Ernst Friedrich Pfeiffer with a portrait-bust. The unusual artwork by Ubbo Enninga provokes various reactions ... In the foyer of the Medical Clinic in Ulm, the white cloth fell and revealed a bust which the Stuttgart artist Ubbo Enninga had made: rough nails stick out of the head, the smooth bronze is hidden under raw plaster. Nevertheless, Pfeiffer’s features are obvious. Dr. Margret Pfeiffer, the widow, is impressed by the result. Pfeiffer’s long-time secretary,Rosemarie Seiffert, missest he laugh-lines. Enninga smiled – the quiet man with the ponytail enjoyed the controversial echo ... Who would have thought it: a memorial stands in the university. And, surprisingly, a memorial for Ernst Friedrich Pfeiffer who, with his temperament, his drive, and his sometimes rather brisk charm, did not have only friends. With this portrait, Guido Adler proved to have an amazingly good sense of what is appropriate. Confusing, because he’s an SPD (Social Democratic Party) man and they aren’t so interested in memorials. But Ubbo Enninga has created a work which in no way leaves one to think of shiny, polished marble pathos.
Birgit Hübner-Dick, Südwest Presse Ulm, November 26, 1997
 
Man?s Vulnerability
It deals with man’s vulnerability – the past, as well as creation, are spoken of here. The works ... seem to be symbolic representations.
Anja Allmeritter, Reutlinger Nachrichten, November 18, 1997
 
Connection To The Cosmos
It is unusual how the sculptor includes the remains of the casting canals with the finished metal work. His figures, all human – creatures between earth, almost playfully bound to it, and heaven, reaching with their gesture towards it. Also the variously interpreted »Birth«, in which the man carries the birthing woman far above himself, as the child finds its’ way to earth...with nails in the beautiful head ... the effect is stronger in the original sculpture, especially in the peace-exuding beautiful young lady with African features. It remains to be seen whether pain is intended, or if Enninga wants to create an artisitic connection to the cosmos of which he holds man to be a part. An obvious impression, also seen in his small self-portrait.
Marianne Strohbach, Stuttgarter Zeitung, September 23, 1995
 
Dedication And Respect
Sublime in the balance ... Enninga’s handworking capabilities are proof of a certain »know-how«, which a certain percentage of the public still expects to find in a real artist ... Several examples show with what dedication and respect the sculptor meets his partner in the portrait work. Rainer Vogt, Stuttgarter Nachrichten, February 17, 1995
 
Splits, Notches And Knots
From the Stuttgart sculptor Ubbo Enninga, one sees works which have people as the theme. These pieces have the highest artistic rating in the exhibition »Wood-Paths«. The artist leaves the wood in its fairly natural form. Splits, notches and knots remain unchanged, become a part of the articulation of the sculpted figures
. wes, Kornwestheimer Zeitung, February 16, 1993
 
The Birth Of Birth
... A slender male figure with erect penis carries a woman giving birth in a crouching position, the legs widely spaced, the arms stretching above, as if in prayer ... the spores of the artistic creations’ process are a part of the work: the birth of »Birth« ...
pro, Ludwigsburger Kreiszeitung, February 2, 1993
 
Visionary
... gives the work something visionary. It seems as if they have grown out of the chaotic, disorderly mass – which threatens to swallow them again.
nar, Stuttgarter Zeitung, January 24, 1992
 
Simplicity Of Form
... In coarse strokes, Enninga works preferably tropical woods into simple figures and portraits, the strong expressions result from the simplicity of form. Form-making and the material become the actual theme of the sculpture work ... he exposes the dark pith of the padouk wood – almost as symbol for the personal condition.
Petra von Olschowski, ZYMA Art today, Nr.2 1991
 
Independant Results
The nude piece can ... call forth completely independant results. In the refinement of the formal method, a hard-won harmony of the closeness to nature and the natural balance is even moreso imposing.
Renée Schipp, Berliner Morgenpost, May 20, 1991
 
The Culture Prize
... Sponsored by the Oberhessen Press, the Culture Prize - a sculpture by the artist Ubbo Enninga – is the first German prize for the Sparta Movement Theatre ...
Lotte Kasten, Hinterländer Anzeiger, July 5, 1989
 
Must-See
The »Boat« has already become a »must-see« in the federal city. Enninga was first inspired for his work in the Hessen House of Representatives by the space: the steep stairwell with the oak panelling suggested a sculpture also made from oak. Slowly the form became that of a standing boat – symbol for the fact that »we are all in one boat«.The female form which, in a sense, holds everyone in the boat through giving and as life-carrier, came later. This is how a work which makes quite a statement developed in a realistic manner.
Karl Schmidt, Hinterländer Anzeiger, December 28, 1987
 
Stipend-Winner
Art Foundation Stipend-Winner...Between two possibilities, the constructive and the figurative, Ubbo Enninga interposes also the spacial order.
Juliane Sonntag, Fellbacher Zeitung, June 24, 1987
 
Statesman Hardenberg
Ubbo Enninga created the bust and cast it in bronze himself. He collected all the paintings of the statesman he could find and finally decided upon the older, wiser Hardenberg of 1820. The stone character of the bronze bust is won from working the plaster model with hammer and chisel.
ug, Taunus Zeitung, August 29, 1986
 
Thick Air
»Thick air« was truly the situation in the rooms of the Marburg Art Society. So many people came to the opening of the exhibition of works by Ubbo Enninga (also present) that one could barely breathe and there was nearly not enough space for everyone ... Not an imaginary, sense as-if-alive makes the sculptures so good, but rather the inherent contradiction, the energetic play of empirical thing-experience, the possibility of its aesthetics and consciously showing the actual artificiality of art in its conscious alienation ... Enninga moves lightly as a tightrope walker (without the fragility of one) on a narrow angle between convention and innovation ... his entire work has a fresh ... ingenuity ... in which the long-buried formation and art methods are yet (again?) directly struggled with and affirmed.
he, Oberhessische Presse, February 7, 1985
 
Negative Plaster Form
The sculptor Enninga doesn’t exhibit only »pure« results, but rather also the negative plaster form of »Susanne«, or a facial fragment of the original clay model – reminiscent of a mummy. A figure called »Stefan« tests the strength of this neglected material: the clay figure with rusty reinforcements on its legs sits in its »coat«. One wants to encourage it to remain that way.
ghr, Stuttgarter Zeitung, March 1, 1984
 
Sensational
With the debut exhibition of the Stuttgart sculptor and bronze-foundryman Ubbo Enninga in Esslingen Schwörhaus, an exhibition of a special kind was opened. It is almost sensational when a young artist of today has the courage to work figurative.
ebe, Esslinger Zeitung, February 11, 1984
 
Youngest Participant
Small size – large picture. The first Triennale Fellbach for Small Sculptures in Germany ... Organizer is Heinz Fuchs, one of the most knowledgeable people in the area of twentieth century sculpture ... The youngest participant, Ubbo Enninga (born 1955), exhibits figures modelled in clay. His »Small Figure Lying Down« epitomizes human frailty.
Doris Schmidt, Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 1, 1980
 
Raw Materials
His works deserve a special public one-man show. The decisive preparation of raw materials, the metals and the art-originality make Ubbo Enninga’s metalworks especially noteworthy.
Klaus D. Henkel, Oberhessische Presse, April 5, 1976
 
Real Talent
The gallerist Ludwig Legge doesn’t hold back in his praise for his youngest exhibitor: »Ubbo Enninga is one of the few real talents to be found in recent time«. And as a matter of fact, Enninga proves his talent in his newest exhibition ... a harmonic counterpoint to exploring aggressiveness.
eb, Hinterländer Anzeiger, April 5, 1976
 
Furor
No one saw the miracle of Marburg ... Objects were the main scene ... in the first place – Ubbo Enninga. His reliefs in nonferrous metals have already made a furor in Bonn.
Bernd Füssel, Hinterländer Anzeiger, October 21, 1975
 
Like Magnets
... The Marburg area has seemingly gotten a very large talent with the young Ubbo Enninga. Already a commotion last year, now again his work is a »must-see« for art-lovers. His nonferrous metal reliefs draw visitors like magnets.
Peter Paletta, Oberhessische Presse, August 13, 1975