My language is vibrant color and line.

New Texts: Art and Philosophy

Philosophical Texts on Art and Artistic Activity

Everyone is an artist! Or: Art as Prototyping. (2021) | Wabi-Sabi – Zen of Things. On Buddhism and Beauty. (2020) | Polylog: A Collaborative Art Form. (2020) | I and You. A Reflection on the Relationship between Empathy and Art. (2019) | Art and Healing: Criteria for Salutary Art in a Therapeutic Context. (2018) | Wu Wei. An Approximation. (2017)

The short abstracts for the above texts and other essays can be found in the Essays on Art sectionfurther down this page.


Texts on Groups of Works or Art Projects

Catalyst (2017)
I love collages. Collage-frameworks act like small catalysts. The whole thing is all of a sudden much more than just the sum of its parts. From collaged photo collections new spaces emerge: associative spaces, new areas of meaning.
Stranger in a Foreign Land 1940.1994 (2013)
For most of us Home is anchor and focal point of our identity. For some of us it is the only one. Involuntarily homeless [refugees, foreigners, persons seeking asylum] through their very existence question this form of finding and maintaining identity. Home is fragile.
Biopiracy - or: how common property becomes private (2010)
Biopiracy is a process where more and more patents are granted on the common property, such as the commercialization of traditional medicines etc. As the topic is quite complex it receives little echo in the media.
SixtyFour Kōans (2009)
An intentional approach to the I Ching: the image is just a gateway towards the idea; once you have captured the idea, you forget the image.
A Deeper Shade of Blue: wykiwysiwyg (2009)
If we give room to the autopilot we will move on circular paths and receive the same again and again: a distorted perception of reality, our own projection, overlaying reality.
Koan (2006)
"TU MI TU Y YO TU TU" Out of the void all of a sudden I had this wordplay in my head, a kind of personal Koan. It sounds like an exotic mantra, but actually it is Spanish: "You: my you. And me: your you."
Letter to my Lover (2006)
Word - Drawing - Painting: on the boundary between intellect and feeling
Gaviota (2006)
The fictional lover answers - paintings inspired by poems of the Chilean author Patricio Astudillo Romero.
Insulaner (2006)
Gauguin went to the South Seas, in search of the ideal human being. For many years, I also lived on an island, Hispaniola, perhaps for similar reasons.
Where do you start? (2006)
Yes, where do you start to separate the presence from the past, how do you deal with all those things you thought would last...
Polyamournesia (2006)
A densely woven web of love that encircles me, multicolored, permanently changing, in one word: alive. A beautiful vision... and else?
Watergarden (2006)
Two almost identical paintings, Watergarden/Fertil and Watergarden/Infertil.
Tuscan Landscape (2006)
Large-scale ink drawings on paper.
Homage to... (2006)
Usually artists present "finished" works to their audience, sometimes with no traces at all of the preceding creative process. The art work thus appears to be detached, disconnected from the web of thoughts and feelings, the very matrix that brought it into existence. Homage to... is a joint installation project of various artists that are allowing insights into an artist's creative process and thus makes the thought processes behind artwork tangible.
VELORITO or: "Altar for the Piece of Art that did not Make it" (2006)
VELORITO is the minimization of the Spanish word "velorio" which means "event, amusement in the evening" however also "burial". A VELORITO is consequently a "little ritual of grieving".
Verstecken (2006)
An experiment: in the abstract and unknown, tiny, familiar elements shine up which may work for those who look for the familiar as a door-opener into the world of unknown, pre-known, vaguely perceived.
From the Sunny Islands (2006)
The antipole to "From the Deep Blue". That drowned whaler, do you remember? Nothing is ever entirely over, and eventually he just came back onto land, born again ashore, different now, and yet somehow: just the same...
Mare Nero (2005)
A sailor, swallowed by the sea/you: left behind, waiting./Me: swallowed up by the sea, playing./And now you feel...
What happens, if a dissapeared love re-appears, just knocks at the door, walks in, and then... what? The homecomer's speech...
From the Deep Blue (2005)
Memories of a drowned wahler: a small series of strange memories of animals of the DEEP BLUE, memories of the locked/promised land...
Venice Series SE (2005)
The series "Venice" (2004) and "Venice SE" (2005) are about Italy, and about Germans. About Italy, and how Germans dream of it...
Cinque Leoni (2005)
Five lions that crossed my path in the past. In each encounter I am confronted with an aspect of myself. But only so if I am open. Whatever we perceive is our own reflection in the other person.
Construction Site Lenbach (2005)
Overworking sketches of Franz von Lenbach, the so-called "Malerfürst", at the same time examinating his influence on contemporary art.
Kunst in Schulen (2005)
Kunst in Schulen was a database that introduced German artists (performing artists, movie makers, writers, translators, musicians, dancers and fine artists) with their offers for the work with children and young people.
In cooperation with various German NGOs.
Kunst in Schulen is available in German only.
Bilderpool (2004)
Bilderpool was a non-profit project that provided artists and art lovers with comprehensive information regarding rental of contemporary art: contracts, terms, rent-calculator, frequently asked questions, a listing of artists who rent their work.
Upon request artists were listed for free.
The updated follow-up project can be found here:
The Lotus Feet (2004)
A series of works concerned with intentionally induced mutilations of the body and their motivation and social coding, but also the instability of beauty standards in a world of globalization.
Sati (2003)
The Indian ritual of Sati (or Suttee), the killing a favorite wife on her husband's grave, inspired me to a series of paintings. In this text I explore roots and history of this ritual, and also why I choose this metaphor.
Hommage to Shirley Horn (2003)
Ink drawings inspired by Shirley Horn's music
Mandalas of Passion an Peace: ethno botanical installation (2002)
Ethno botanical installation with coffee and sugar for Eat Art 5, New York City, NY, U.S.A., calling upon associations such as the international peace symbol, "Turtle Island", archaic drawing of a female body; fotos and exhibition text.
HealingWISE: International Database of Healing Herbs (1996 - 1999)
A rebellious attempt to create an inter-cultural world-system of healing herbs and make it available on the anarchic and free Internet - as a response and expression of sorrow over the violent destruction - obviously out of greed of gain - of the central European tradition of herbal medicine.


Essays on Art

Everyone is an artist! Or: Art as Prototyping. (2021)
Apparently, humans have always been concerned with art. But how does this fact fit in with our current practice, a practice that distinguishes between artists and non-artists (i.e., spectators, listeners, audience)? In the following text, I develop a philosophical argument for Joseph Beuys' claim that "Everyone is an artist!" and argue that it would be helpful to abandon this distinction and turn - as actively as possible! - to the arts.
Wabi-Sabi – Zen of Things. On Buddhism and Beauty. (2020)
Wabi-Sabi is an aesthetic practice that is closely related to Japan and Zen Buddhism. However, perceiving Wabi-Sabi merely as a creative concept, as an art form or a collection of creative principles, is not enough. Wabi-Sabi has always been very closely connected to the core concerns of Zen Buddhism. Eventually it can be best described as a way of perceiving and expressing things.
Polylog: A Collaborative Art Form. (2020)
Polylog refers to an open space in which communicative exchange between several participants takes place. We share our thoughts, listen to each other and follow the others' lines of thought. Polylog is free from the compulsion to find a consensus. Therefore, we can allow ourselves to really listen to our interlocutors, to understand the other positions and to keep our own point of view open to change.
I and You. A Reflection on the Relationship between Empathy and Art. (2019)
How is it possible that a work of art touches us? I am an artist - of course I am interested in this question. A first trace may be found in the phenomenon of empathy, the human ability to empathize with another person, to "feel what the other person feels". But is empathy limited to that, to just feeling what the other person feels? Or could empathy perhaps be more that that, more specifically: a kind of communication channel open in both directions?
Art and Healing: Criteria for Salutary Art in a Therapeutic Context. (2018)
In 2001, I have already dealt with the relationship between free and therapeutic art. One of my conclusions at that time was that art keeps us in reality, that it teaches us that we have both, body and soul. In the following text I develop this idea further and determine guiding criteria for an art that can be salutary in the therapeutic context, an art that complements conventional medicine with what it unfortunately often lacks: A holistic view of man.
Wu Wei. An Approximation. (2017)
Besides that of Dao, the concept of Wu Wei is central to the Daodejing. But it is more than that. Wu Wei, non-action, is, for the Western trained mind, perhaps the most difficult and inaccessible paradox of Daoist teaching.
Painting and Sculpture – Similarities, Differences
Painting and sculpture - what distinguishes the two genres? Regarding my own work as a painter, I learnt that I have to stay with a painting (and work it) until the idea that lies within it finds clear expression. Regarding the task of a sculptor Michelangelo said: "Chip off all that does not look like the Leo."
What is Art? (2008)
Art - what is it, anyway? Many understand a lot of different things by the concept of art. For some this word cannot be hung high enough - others see in it a kind of... masturbation (1). I am an artist - should I come up with a new word for what I am doing? Or rather define the concept of art anew?
Art and Money (2007)
Is it possible to live off art? I cannot. Am I doing something wrong? I don't not think so. I am rather fit, also as an entrepreneur. But I do see art as an expression, as an intimate dialogue with myself, and refuse to obey the public's taste.
Is Art Luxury? (2007)
Or: who is sponsoring who? Whoever thinks that offering exhibition space only already counts as sponsorship to artists, is wrong - even though many are still stuck in this idea.
Art, Kitsch and Spirituality (2007)
The deeper one penetrates the art process, the more spiritual it gets. Even if the art scene vehemently differentiates itself from the so-called spiritual scene and I, personally, understand myself primarily as an artist, is clear to me that any artistic work is by its nature a spiritual activity.
Why are People Interested in Art? (2006)
Or: is it objectionable to buy the red painting because it suits the sofa?
Homage to... - about Inspiration in Art (2006)
While working on the concept of the installation project Homage to... I examined various positions of art philosophy regarding the artistic process. It were Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804), Benedetto Croce (1866 - 1952) and Arthur C. Danto (1924) that I found especially interesting.
About my Artistic Work Process (2005)
When I paint I often proceed just like an actor who prepares for his part: based on my own experiences I create a specific mood, the paintings evolve in a process that is based on short texts (instead of sketches), a kind of emotional reminder.
Abstract Painting, Abstract Art, Absolute Art (2004)
Abstract Art already existed in the archaic style epochs, and it was rediscovered through Modernism as an adequate means of expression. Working as an abstract painter I consider it important to define myself within this huge framework in terms of its history and development.
Essay on Art in the 20th Century (2003)
Based on a speech by Werner Haftmann about the interrelation between modern abstract painting and the changes that had occurred in the 20th century in how man saw himself and the world.
The Relativity of our Concept of Reality (2003)
The fact that we inescapably see the world through the sunglasses of our own culture makes our reality and concept of "truth" amorphous, a fact being enforced even more by globalization.
Wabi Sabi (2003)
Wabi Sabi is an aesthetic concept intimately related to Japan and Zen Buddhism. However, it is not a "style of art" but rather a way of perceiving things.
Art and Art Therapy (2001)
As the title suggests this text deals with this thin line between "pure art" and art as a form of therapy, and the artist's role herein.

Essays Gender

A new Lilith: about letting go (2008)
Lilith is the Adam's first wife, his God created, equal partner. Nevertheless, according to tradition Adam prefers another playmate: Eve who submits to him (Lilith is unwilling to do so) and with whom he lives patriarchally, but also outside paradise. Today Lilith stands as a symbol for emancipation and female autonomy, for self-determination and a pleasurably experienced sexuality - and for "the dark side of femininity".
Sati (2003)
The Indian ritual of Sati (or Suttee), the killing a favorite wife on her husband's grave, inspired me to a series of paintings. In this text I explore roots and history of this ritual, and also why I choose this metaphor.
On female Solidarity (2001)
I explore reasons for the suppression of women - surprisingly it is often women who make other women's lives miserable. A different view on emancipation.
Disease and Death - a text on WILL (1998)
My parents died from diseases. I wondered many years why some people "heal", why others "die". Is there "a magic herb" to save them all?
Woman & Fertility (1998)
A bit political - on power implications of our (yes, I am a woman!) ability to give birth, on the right over our bodies and thus abortion, on human creativity...

Lyric and Prose

Gaviota (2006)
German translation of some poems by Patricio Astudillo Romero (Chile)
Letter to my Lover (2006)
Word - Drawing - Painting: on the boundary between intellect and feeling
The WTC Bombings (2001)
This is a collection of mails and comments I received concerning the tragedy of September 11. These texts are in various languages, including English, German and Spanish.
Adventure Dominican Republic: treasure hunting (2000)
Yes - I went treasure hunting. What a fun thing to do! And what stories! Full of magick, superstition, and weird, weird advice!
Poetry (1991 - 1994)
My little poetry writing. Some romantic. Some cruel.
My language is vibrant color and line. by Karin Ulrike Soika
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