Sleeping Hens - 1954

Sleeping Hens

In the cold of a winter night, a cock and two hens sit on the fruit-tree branches, stiff with cold, and with ruffled feathers. A thin crescent moon connects a small scene with the cosmos.

Due to the way of finishing the branches and squeezing the image of the hens, this woodcut resembles the Japanese woodcuts. Thereby an inconspicuous everyday scene becomes an inscrutable symbol of the abandonment in this world.

Characteristic of Werner Berg's lifestyle and conception of art is the situation in which he has never divided thematic fields into human countenance, images of figures, landscapes and animals. As if the story were mainly about the unity of the world and living creatures, his pictures very often capture only the extreme cases: “Sleeping hens” sitting under the thin crescent moon is an animal as well as a landscape picture, and yet life at the same time – all this only incidentally since for the sake of greater clearity they appear as clear symbols for creaturely existence in the space of the cosmos.

 

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