Marilen Von Wick was a German artist. Born in the year 1932, Marilen Von Wick passed on in 2015. Additionally, specialists like Antonio Massari, István Kis, John Richard Howley, Doc Tate Nevaquaya, and Yu Fujiwara were brought into the world that year.
Marilen Von Wick was born in 1932 and grew up during the 1950s and was affected by the artistic bloom of the time. During the Post War period, New York City turned into a worldwide concentration for Modernism. During the Second World War, numerous specialists had ventured out to the city in the wake of having fled estranged abroad from Europe, which brought about a blending and amalgamation of capacities and thoughts. While in New York, powerful Europeans, for example, Piet Mondrian, Josef Albers, and Hans Hoffmann gave motivation to American specialists and affected social development in the United States for a long time that followed. Dynamic Expressionism commanded during the 1950s as a central strategy for painting and investigated thoughts concerning the great and otherworldliness. Specialists attempted to concentrate on painting’s conventional properties, and Action Painting took motivation from the political opportunities of the United States, contrary to the restrictions of the Soviet coalition. Critical specialists of this period included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Frank Kline, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, and Adolph Gottlieb. In resulting updates, the commitments and endeavors of female specialists, for example, Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Louise Bourgeois have been commended, among numerous other female creatives.
Our interlocutor is Merilen’s eldest son Mr. Georg von Wick – Chairman of the board of directors of the community of heirs von Wick.
Can you tell us a bit more about Marilen von Wick’s life? What was she like?
Georg: In early childhood, Marlen von Wick was very interested and talented in music and art – inspired by her mother Maria Francken, who was a passionate hobby painter and draughtswoman, Marilen attended the Bonn Conservatory from 1937 to 1942 and completed her education with the music exam.
From 1956 she was bound to the education and further education of her 4 children Georg, Vera, Joachim and Ekkehart (born 1956 – 1963), but at the same time she studied art history at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelm-University in Bonn.
Marilen was very interested in the history of her own family “Francken” as well as the family of her husband Dr. Georg von Wick. For example, she discovered that the family roots reached to the famous painter dynasty Francken-Vrancx-Francke from Herentals b. Antwerp.
Marilen first began her studies in 1977-1980 at the age of 45, first at the Folkwangschule Essen (applied arts) and after successfully passing application tests despite her advanced age, from 1980 onwards at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (fine arts). She completed her studies in 1986 as a master student (Meisterschüler) of the academy.
In 1986 Marilen von Wick was awarded a special distinction, the 1st prize for contemporary painting by the International Association of Art (IAA) England.
Her first noteworthy and successful exhibition took place in 1977 at the Royal Academy in London. Other important exhibitions were:
– Deutsche Bank Berlin (1990),
– Gallery Michikawa/Tokyo (1990/1992/1995)
– Zollverein Colliery Essen (2002)
– St. Antonius Church in Düsseldorf-Oberkassel (2005)
The last exhibition took place in the bunker church St. Sakrament in Düsseldorf-Heerdt in 2010/11.
Marilen von Wick was a passionate, very committed, emotional, always open to new themes and experiences, imaginative and self-confident woman and artist. The questions of those interested in her work that she was least concerned with were about her feelings/emotions at the time of the creation of a particular work. ( The questions of those interested in her works concerning their feelings/emotions at the time of the creation of a particular work were the least pleasant to her.) If she could not avoid them, she often answered only superficially.
Due to health problems, Marilen had to largely stop her art activities at the end of 2011, her studio was finally closed down about 2 weeks before her death.
Tell us about her artwork, medium, style, subject matter etc.
Georg: Marilen von Wick has worked for many years with abstract painting and free art with the main themes of (infinite) time and space. She has mainly used acrylic on canvas. Her medium was mainly painting, often large-format painting. The materiality of the paintings was very important to Marilen. This materiality is due to her original training as a sculptor. This can also be seen in her later works, as her works are very expansive. In addition, she did not shy away from color, many pictures captivate by their concise colorfulness.
Marilen painted the large-format objects mainly lying on her knees on the floor.
Besides painting, Marilen created panel paintings, material paintings, and objects as well as editions such as small-format paintings.
“While the materiality of the panel paintings is most compatible with the academic style of painting – canvas, stretcher frame, acrylic – the material paintings and objects are predominantly ‘nomadic’, i.e. converted material: found objects of wood, iron and metal mesh, synthetics, torn packing cases.” (Quote from
Dr. Hartwig Frankenberg, Düsseldorf 1992)
How might someone feel differently about the world after looking at Marilen’s artworks?
Georg: For the birth of my two daughters (Franziska Maria/class of 1994 and Patricia Sophie/class of 2005) my mother gave my wife Petra and us a very special drawing with the faces of my daughters. In the picture for/of the birth of Franziska her head is painted in several places, for the viewer, each time is a little challenge to discover the heads. These very personally drawn snapshots have accompanied me day by day ever since and very often remind me of the birth of my two wonderful daughters and the two happiest days of my life.
She deliberately refrained from titles. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Georg: Marilen von Wick deliberately refrained from using titles. The viewer should deal with her art as impartially as possible, the effect of which is to be determined by a multilateral network of relationships.
What effect her art has on the viewer?
Georg: Marilen herself described her intention as follows: “I am concerned with the intangible, vulnerable space, and the time that affects it. With multi-layered glazed painting, I make space tangible and allow the viewer to penetrate, inevitably confronting him with energies and following my criticism of endangering the continuity of life”.
Other statements Marilen makes about her painting are:
“My painting is a mirror of my observations and sensations. Through intuitive implementation and processing, it leads to a symbiosis of reality and unreality – in search of the ‘now’. The questioning of reality and truth by means of an alienated visual language requires understanding and – like any other intellectual confrontation – effort and willingness to think and experience.
On large-format surfaces, a work is created in which the evidence of the working process can be experienced in sweeping brushwork, in transparency and overlapping of layers, in traces of scratches and putty.
If you could pick one piece of Marlien’s art, what would it be and why?
Georg: It is very difficult to commit to one or a few works, as Marilen has created a number of excellent and artistically very successful series.
I would like to emphasize one work nevertheless: After the death of my mother, we, my siblings and I, chose a particularly successful painting of my mother for the burial ceremony, with a self-portrait of Marilen and her constant companion, her hunting dog Yago, to whom our mother was very attached – and from whom she, unfortunately, had to part with before her death due to her health problems.
We have already published this self-portrait – it is for us, her children, each time a very emotional moment to see Marilen in this self-portrait very happy and satisfied with the world and in harmony with it.
How has Marilen’s style changed or evolved over the years?
Georg: The style of Marilen von Wick has developed in her artistic creative period from representational painting to abstract painting.
One of Marilen von Wick’s most outstanding and highly regarded art projects was “Art in the Church” (St. Anthony’s Church, Düsseldorf). Here she developed her own abstract interpretations based on passages oft the Bible. If you read the biblical passages next to it, you can sometimes recognize figures, but as with all of Marilen’s paintings, as a viewer, you are free to draw your own conclusions.
These works have been compiled in a separate catalog.
What are some memorable moments people have with Marilen’s art?
Georg: Great positive feedback was also received at vernissages and Exhibitions of material images and objects:
“While the panel paintings in their materiality are most compatible with the academic painting style – canvas, stretcher frame, acrylic – the material paintings and objects are predominantly ‘nomadic’, i.e. converted material: found objects of wood, iron and metal mesh, synthetics, torn packing cases.” (Quote from Dr. Hartwig Frankenberg, Düsseldorf 1992)
Where can people see Marilen’s artworks?
Georg: The last exhibition took place in 2018 in Bonn. An exhibition “Marilen von Wick – retrospective” with selected works is planned for 2020/2021.
To learn more about Marilen and her work, please check: