Marina Sailer’s art basks in strong but modulated and subtle colours with which she creates her fantasy, neo-baroque, room scenarious where, in melancholy palaces, fish, butterflies or even elfins appear to float past sparkling chandeliers, mirrored glass and lush arabesques as if in a dream. As the myterious, fairytale pictures unfold they create a strong magnetic effect, to the pull of which the observer happily surrenders.
Born in Vitebsk, Republic of Belarus the artist studied in Karlsruhe and later Düsseldorf, where she now lives and works. In her paintings Marina Sailer brings figures and objects together in the most bizarre combinations. One’s brain is pressurized in searching for a rational explanation for this combination of objects which apparently seem anything but compatible. Fish swim between water plants in the middle of a 19th-century historical interior, in which monkeys cavort around while maiden-like fairies appear to float past, semi-transparent, more resembling dream spectres. Nearby, doves, swans and an assortment of exotic birds, cats, butterflies and pug-dogs populate her scenes. The interiors she depicts are full of upholsterery, chairs, beds, cushions, opulent floral fabrics, carpets, coat stands, lamps and staircases with richly ornamented banisters.
As might be expected, real-life and fiction become inextricably linked to form a heterogeneous but nevertheless harmonically combined conglomerate. Amidst all these plush interiors a fragile-looking female figure stretches out on an armchair, as if in a modern version of a Gainsborough portrait posing in front of all her possessions. In several of her paintings the artist turns to the countryside scenery. As if by a magical power the viewer is drawn into the natural scenarios. The suggestive effect is underlined by the rear-view figure, a typical motif of Romanticism. It is usually young girls who, alone once more and who have obviously lost their way in the forest – yet another romantic literary motif – stop and pause in front of a path or a clearing and, like the viewer, become enchanted by the power of a magical light. It is these light effects present not only in the paintings of interiors but also in the mysterious landscapes that captivate us with their shimmering light, with reflections on lustre chandelier crystals, on soap bubbles and between the branches of trees. Through the enigmatic stories they tell, the pictures transpose us into a mysterious atmosphere.
These images live from subjective memories, experiences and dreams. One searches in vain for conventional symbols of painting and must finally accept the notion of an individual, unfathomable Hermeticism: The pictures would appear to be fantasy journeys for the artist in which she acts out her own conception of freedom. They live from the artist’s own emotionalism. As in a stage set, she creates fantastic realism from fragments of her own memories, her perception and her fantasy. Her painting is quite justifiably associated to the early romantic art theory, to an extent to one of the fragments of Novalis, the foremost German poet-philosopher of early German Romanticism: “In our minds everything is connected in its very own, most pleasurable and most lively way. The strangest things come together through a place, a time, a strange similarity, an error, or coincidence. In this way wondrous entities and strange correlations are created.” (freely translated) Just as the early romanticists Marina Sailer also recognises the strength of fantasy and intuition in leading the viewer to the “mysterious path (that) leads within us.
Beyond its pictorial reality, the way she paints delights us. Marina Sailer masters every aspect of effective illusionist painting. For example the completely realistic, exactly painted details of her self-portrait, “Time in Paris”, in fine, flowing strokes of grey-brown-mauve but also in the same painting distinctive contrasts of hard colour and brightness as well as lines in flamboyant shades of neon turquoise, as modern, calculated disturbances. We can also find impressionistic splashes of colour and bright spots of light that in our mind’s eye melt into a shimmering surge of forest flowers.
Like stardust she sprays a cloud of shining light over the airspace of the upper-class salons. Marina Sailer is quite possibly orientated towards the earlier ideas of Schlegel, Schiller and Novalis, who regarded the artist and the poet as being gifted with magical powers to lead the viewer on to the mysterious paths within us. The present-day observer of Marina Sailer’s art is given the opportunity to experience how the typical beliefs of Romanticism can be linked with Modernity.
Helmut Kesberg, Cologne