(Sepp J. Wölker, MA; Sammler)
...the presumably lost elemental force of surrealism regains an amazingly new vitality with the artistic work of Ms. Helga N. Arlow. Aragon once wrote: "The vice, that one calls surrealism, is the unrestrained and passionate use of the drug called painting." The meaning of his words becomes fascinatingly evident in the works of this woman from Vienna, where one can clearly recognize many of the central themes of the great tradition of surrealism, without having the feeling they were only thoughtlessly passed on. She develops a very unique personal language of colours and concept of composition, while all the epiphanies of Breton, Duchamps, Aragon, Ernst, Dali, Fuchs (or whatever their names) remain her terms of reference.

One does not have to be familiar with M. Ernst's "La femme 100 tčte" or with A. Breton's "Nadja" to understand quickly how skillfully Ms. Arlow maintains her strategy to avoid banality and dullness, how she combines disparate elements and brings new creative power to wellknown materials. Modern acrylic glass (plexiglas, perspex) is her thing, but she does not hesitate to use a "discovery" on the flea market or shells she collects on the beaches in the sunny south. (Which, by the way, gave life – and name – to a whole series of her paintings.)

The surrealistic "lived poetry" ("poesie vecue") is her artistic leitmotif, if ever there could be singled out a dominant feature of her vast creative powers. Before your very eyes she lets emerge whole worlds of colours and materials, without being afraid of (self-)ironic themes, and with clear stylistic assurance she uses an allegedly amateurish drawing-method, embedded in her powerful colour-schemes. Thus she quasi forces the viewer under the spell of her neo-surrealistic distinctiveness. In any case, the results are exciting paintings and art-objects,- in her latest workphase downright "picture-globes".

A modern Austro-Surrealism from Vienna came into existence. And it has a new name: Helga N. Arlow.

It's not by chance that Ms. Arlow lives in Vienna, in the wellknown constellation of the Great Bear of Surrealism. It is here, where profane promises for salvation and dull facts of reality constantly strike sparks. Reverdy once noted: "The farther apart the concepts might be in reality, when composed into a painting, the more beautiful the painting." How true about the art of Ms. Arlow, and not only in the context of Vienna! The known "play with possibilities" of the old school of surrealism gets a new actress as (and with) a new artistic option.

Opening the fabulous catalogue of the spectacular exhibition "Juegos Surrealistas" of J.J. Lebel (Fundación Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 1996) one gets an exemplary notion to whom and to what Ms. Arlow's art connects to: the infinitely wounded human instinct to play.

Ms. Arlow knows all about those wounds, all about wrong tracks of eggheaded ratio and the mysteries of ones own soul. Nevertheless, she opens up new, effective options for us. They surely are surrealistic, but very useful for our daily "play with possibilities".