Kunstkatalog "Birgit Berg-Block" Objekte 25. Juli - 18. August 1994 von Michael Post: 

For some years now, Birgit Berg-Block has been creating collages, assemblages, objects and object boxes - all of them artefacts that include the aesthetics of the paintings she formerly made, while at the same time unfolding new aspects of her evolution as an artist.

For almost two decades, till the early 1980s, Berg-Block's painting was determined by "inner images" which she placed in the tradition of informal art; but the plastic trouvés she is locating now go beyond meditative abjuring of the representational, to become statements inseparable from representational and narrative content. Her playfully poetic painting, which frequently established a microcosmic world  of colours and shapes in its own right, took its life from a serendipitous style of working, and to this day, in her object art, Berg-Block proceeds by directed chance. In this respect, she is in the tradition of the objet trouvé or found object, which was begun around 1912 by Picasso and Braque, whose papers collés put collage squarely in the history of art. In their Cubist phase they placed scrap or waste paper and objects in their pictures. Picasso made the famous start, pasting a piece of oilcloth onto a canvas to create the palpable, visual reality of the thing, and Marcel Duchamp took this to radical extremes by declaring any industrially manufactured object might be a work of art if it were merely given the right frame or setting - an art exhibition, say. Since then, much has been done in object art, and the explorations have been defined in the titles. Questioning the real, for instance, was the motto of the 1972 dokumenta show, conceived by Harald Szeemann. At that show, one section was devoted to individual mythologies: a new generation of artists were presented, whose arrangements of objects, found and defamiliarized, in spatial situations or environments, have remained an influence on many artists such as Berg-Block to the present day.

Her earliest small-format object boxes (she herself calls them " small graves") present figurines, for instance, draped in soft fabrics such as Molton or similar. Crosses or cruciform shapes appear for the first time, too. The cryptic symbolism, articulated in various  found fabrics, includes the archetypal features of an individually probed, intuitive world of experience; they are features drawn from the most different of cultural contexts, including those often called primitive. Materials such as old wood, used nails, or faded cushions, are removed from their everyday tradition of utility and placed to signal transience, the growth and passing that come with time, and in this way the experiential world of Berg-Block acquires a potentially mystical character. She expresses an intuitive engagement with life and death, without implying any normative morality or rigid religious orthodoxy.

This clear means of enabling materials to speak a language different from the usual is in line with the symbolism of fetishes practised by magicians and shamans worldwide as a means of spurring the imagination. The poetry of this magic, which can be a healing thing too, is what Birgit Berg-Block is trying to awaken to life in her objects. It is an aim altogether consistent with her overall wish to displace the enshrined experiential validity of one (and only one) rational view of reality. Her art sets free experiential content that is repressed in the highly mechanistic, rationally-determined world we normally perceive. Object art in the 1960s and 70s was influenced by hippie lifestyle of the time, and indirectly by Surrealist theories and Zen Buddhism; seen in this context, the line from Berg-Block`s informal painting (which was already absorbing oriental input) to her present objects is a consistent one.

Along with her desire to grasp materials in terms of chance, in order to use them in her art, there is an active second strain in Berg-Block`s art, in her engagement with a variety of subjects that concern herself. Her work, which has been more closely concerned with death since the early loss of a good friend in 1982, centres upon the possible ways of working up objets trouvés that most seamlessly suit her concerns and her highly personal approach. 

There are aspects to some of her almost life-size cruciform works that are symbolically partly Christian in character (the crucifixion) but nonetheless do not make a traditional impression by any means. What we see being crucified may be no more than the supposed articulation of blasphemy. Rather,the things Berg-Block uses, such as birds' skulls, snakes' skins, plumage, roots, helmets, kimonos, and so forth (and in her choice we detect the compositional skill of the painter), express the absurd or grotesque, statements from the realm of fairy tale, of the impalpable. There is more blasphemy in the degenerate aestheticism oaf central European cemeteries today, or in religious bric-a-brac à la Lourdes. Berg-Block's formal idiom, an individual and fantastic language devised to come to visual terms with death and thus with life as well, hits us hard. Her metaphors of life and metaphors of death become one united whole. The artist's active openness to chance has led her, in her quest for things, fetishes and objects such as the bier or cross, to rely on the expressive magic that is in the things themselves. Whatever is a-logical, fairy-tale or mythic belongs to a non-rational reality which is the proper realm of art.

Lautréamont famously saw beauty in the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissecting table. His aperçu signalled the way for the Surrealists' yoking of unrelated realities in order to establish a distinctive and magical juxtaposition.The root address of this poetic approach has remained the same.