Film: Heaven On Earth
As one of the artists invited to participate in "Art in Nature", part oft the German Festival in India sponsored by the Goethe Institute, Ulrike Arnold is shown at work on two projects in South India. In Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, she creates a painting on canvas and "wishing flags" at the holy mountain of Arunachala. After planting seven trees in a circular formation, she creates a round painting at the center. The red earth with which she paints has been gathered while performing a pilgrimage walk around the mountain. Here, at one of the most holy places in India, Hindus celebrate light as a manifestation of the god Shiva by igniting a huge bonfire every year. The great Indian master and philosopher Sri Ramana Maharshi once lived on this sacred mountain.
In Badami, Karnataka, Ulrike Arnold is seen at work on a rock painting near the prehistoric Siddalpadi Cave, using earth and pigments gathered from the surrounding terrain. She also creates a tree-altar using the snake motif so central to Indian mythology. Ulrike Arnold is accompanied by the Chennai-based filmmaker R. V. Ramani. What results is a unique collaborative film of great visual beauty and spiritual transcendence.
Ulrike Arnold has travelled throughout the world to work on remote locales often associated with ritual or magical properties. Her materials are the stones and earth she finds there. These are applied, often by hand, to create rock paintings in situ, or mixed with a transparent binder to produce works on canvas. These pictures can be read as "psychograms" of the artist herself but also as travelogues, as visual diaries and as abstract portraits of remote locales.