Ulrike Rosenbach




CLIENT: St Peter’s church, Cologne

he video installation ORPHELIA was exhibited in 1987 at the documenta in Kassel, Germany and in St Peter’s church in Cologne.

Three monitors are lying in an object from perspex, showing three video works synchronised to each other. The overall picture of the three monitors show the Orphelia figure revolving slowly around its own axis. The image of Orphelia is overlaid a texture consisting of microscopic images of human blood circulation and blueish-reddish shades. Meditative flute and water sounds underline the iconic character of the installation.

Ulrike Rosenbach uses elements of far-east spirituality as well as subjects based on western ideas of transcendence. The title „Orphelia“ is a composition of the mythological Greek character Orpheus and the literary character Ophelia from Hamlet. Here, references to the androgynous utopia can be found: Orpheus and Ophelia merge into “Orphelia”. As an element in the pictorial code of the alchemists, the hermaphrodite stands as a metaphor for the feasibility of a symbiosis of contrasts.

The two characters Orpheus and Ophelia are connected by their common fate of a love that remains unfulfilled: Orpheus’ love for Eurydice, as well as Ophelia’s for Hamlet, ends tragically. Orpheus and Ophelia both live through the transitory states between life and the afterworld: Orpheus in the attempt to free his beloved out of Hades and Ophelia in the state of madness before she dies in the floods. In her work, Ulrike Rosenbach continues the development right through to the spiritual ideal of the androgynous Orphelia who has reached a destination between here and beyon

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