Series "A la recherche du temps perdu" III (Girl on a Beach), 1990

Series "A la recherche du temps perdu" III (Girl on a Beach), 1990
Oil on Japan paper, 92 x 61,5 cm

Ruth Baumgarte's own experiences and stories and historical events from the foothills of the Pyrenees come together in this painting from the series A la recherche du temps perdu. Past and present become one in a reflection of longing for the sea, in a homage to Marcel Proust.

A young woman with fiery red hair sits naked between the sand dunes with her back to the observer. Her hand is on her knee, and she is waiting. The colours used make her blend in with her environment. Beyond the forlorn profile of the woman, our gaze is directed to the distant sea and its fishermen. In the haunting background, the sea appears to merge with the blue of the sky and the mountains. Another figure watches the seated woman like a faceless shadow and reveals nothing of its emotions.

Beside the woman are various objects belonging to a different time: a shell, and the head and arm of a doll – debris from the sea and remnants of childhood. Flotsam that suggests the young woman herself is adrift in the current of time. Where is her future place in this world – does she have one?