Welcome, Man!
by Sebastian Gronbach

When I was fifteen years old, I walked past Ubbo Enninga's house. Now I am thirty-five and today I don't walk past Ubbo Enninga's house - I enter it. Then it was night. Today it is morning. The next morning - twenty years later. In order to understand the morning, one must know something about the night.

Then, in that night, I was full of many strange feelings. During the day, I had helped my father organise a selling booth in the Waldorf School, which was just a few minutes away. My father sold art prints. He wanted the best quality and so he travelled - with me - through the half of Italy to the tradition-rich printing shops and museums, buying the best reproductions of the works of famous classical masters. He presented and sold these prints in the course of various public exhibitions. I helped him arrange the selling area as if it were a gallery, informed potential customers about price, quality and art history and took orders.

"Living with Pictures" was his company's motif and certainly I lived intensely with these pictures. I lived many hours in the midst of Raphael, van Gogh, Kandinsky and Michaelangelo. But I didn't just breathe in these masterworks - I also had an eye for the people who stood in front of the pictures. On this day, a girl stood in front of the Sistine Madonna ans I fell in love with her. A few hours earlier I had fallen in love with another girl and a third one I also couldn´t forget. Falling in love happened quickly to me back then. Towards evening, when we had closed and my father had gone, I stayed to party with a group of girls and guys. Out of the evening came the night. Out of the group came a couple - the Sistine-girl and I. Her parents lived in the Alexanderstrasse. My grandparents also lived on this street and, for a few days, my father and I. Ubbo Enninga also lives here.

I brought the girl to her house. We stood there for a while, exchanged phone numbers - but no kisses - and hugged each other. She went into the house and closed the doors and I was alone in the Alexanderstrasse. Was I alone? Within me was the Sistine Madonna and the girl in front of her, who was now behind a wall. Within me was the man with the golden helm and my youthful yearning to be a hero. Within me the potato-eaters sat by their simple meal and my father counted up the meagre orders.Within me, Picasso's blue dove flew past the Isenheimer Altar and the light of the resurrected Christ shone through the dove into my heart.

Inside I wasn't alone - within me were pictures and people, pain and lust, premonitions and hope, living art and artful living. But outside, I stood in front of a locked door and old, cold walls.

I continued down the street. I had a few minutes walk still to go. A few seconds of these minutes passed by Ubbo Enninga's house. Then I finally lay on my air mattress between refrigerator and desk.

The next day, twenty years later, I went the same way in the opposite direction. Today I have an appointment with Ubbo Enninga. Until now we've known each other only through e-mail and the telephone. I had spent the night in my grandparents' house. For the first time in my life, I was alone in this apartment. My grandmother died long ago and my grandfather lives in a senior citizens´ home. I'm supposed to help my mother clear out the apartment, I'm the handyman for bulky things. I shall turn in the key to this apartment and another door to my childhood will close. A few minutes-meters further on, he stands in front of his house. He approaches me, calls me by my name and, beaming, opens the door to his home.

Now I am no longer before old, cold walls in the street. Now, inside, with warm wood and soft cushions, I sit as a guest and am treated in a friendly manner. Ubbo Enninga's works stand around me. Sculptures, portraits, human pictures.

Twenty years ago, I walked past this house. Outwardly alone, a world with me. Now someone opened the door, spoke my name and I am in the world.
Ubbo Enninga is an artist who isn't satisfied with being an artist. Enninga also opens the door and treats his public in a friendly manner, as a person and also in his work. He cares for and honours the human being.

I don't go often into a museum of modern art and whenever I am in one, I feel lonely, perplexed and stranded, as if my blood were flowing out of me, as if I were losing my vitality. It's not a good loneliness, not a loneliness which appears because someone has opened a large room. It's a thought-out loneliness. It's not a creative perplexity, whereby I must refer to my true Self, but rather a fake and senseless perplexity.

The kind of modern art I don't like is the kind that ignores me. It sells itself as someone who wants to shake me up, provoke me, wants to encourage me to reflect and discover new feelings, but actually, it holds me in contempt. Some modern art doesn't have a large following because it doesn't look for the public, it has no breadth because it disdains the populace. But the populace - those are the people. People don't let themselves be shouted at forever, they don't let others forever step on their feet and they are sick of art's disrespect and arrogance. Modern people don't want a modern art with which one can only have a relationship if one has studied, or knows thick books inside-out or gets a headache. Modern people want to be spoken to as complete people. They feel discouraged when their minds are overly engaged, when the longings in their souls, in their godliness remain unaddressed. Then they prefer to watch "Wetten dass". Makes sense. At least Gottschalk gives the impression that he cares about people. (TV show and its host, Thomas Gottschalk).

People want to be treated like people again, they long for an art form which invites them. Ubbo Enninga invites me, he speaks to me, knows my name. His work is a puzzle for me, but he doesn't throw it in my face; rather, he gives me it with a smile. Even without a clever answer, I can build a relationship with Enninga's puzzle. Enninga's works speak to me. His sculptures confuse me - not because they are stupidly speechless, but because they can touch various places in me. They speak to me with their extreme beauty, with their dignity and asthetic and simultaneously they show wounds, scars tell terrible tales. They are as I felt earlier - as people who are made out of flesh and blood and who have soul and spirit. Full of life and power, full of beauty and bursting eroticism, full of longing for peace and stillness and with a world-embracing love. Enninga's El Niño, for example, is a prophet who speaks the words of Nelly Sachs: "When the prophets arise in the night of humanity like lovers searching for the heart of the beloved, night of humanity, would you have a heart to give?" Out of Enninga's work speaks that which Rudolf Steiner postulated for our age: "Hearts begin to have thoughts; inspiration doesn't stream out of a simply mystical darkness, but out of thoughtful soul-clarity."

Enninga's work is spiritual. But not because he thinks it must be spiritual, not because he thinks out a symbol for something and then builds that, but because he works out of a love for doing and out of a relationship to the spiritual world. Like all those who come out of the stream of fate of the initiated Christian Rosenkreuz, Ubbo Enninga is also one who lives fully in the Mystery of Doing. Christian Rosenkreuz stands next to artists who make a head from stone, a torso out of wood, a world out of nothing. Christian Rosenkreuz stands next to people who turn the decomposing earth into a star - he stands next to the modern alchemist who, as organic farmer, does something good for the ground, next to the researcher who captures healing power in a small globule. Rosenkreuz stands next to the doctors and emergency workers who decide in seconds between life and death. Christian Rosenkreuz isn't only there where beauty and life are at home. Christian Rosenkreuz also feels responsible for ugliness, stupidity and poverty. He doesn't complain about these deprivations. He goes there, begins to work and changes the world.

Ubbo Enninga is such a world-improver in the best sense. He has no fear of beauty, dignity, godliness and - above all - he's not afraid of people. He places them in the middle of his work. They are the measure and the answer. And above all: he loves them. He has the will, the spiritual presence and - oh what a blessing - the ability to show this love. In real, spectacular and delicate works of art which address my entire person.

Then, twenty years ago, I lived with great artists and they spoke to me. They communicated with my life, my worries and hopes. The Sistine Madonna didn't run away as I ogled that girl's backside. She carried in her arms someone who was one thing above all - someone who again and again went to the people, healed again and again, always had a word and an ear and never stopped loving...

Given: Many, large and perhaps pompous words. Ubbo Enninga and his work don't need them, but I want to say them for all those people who are longing for art which speaks to them. Some people don't trust themselves, some don't have the words, others haven't the voice. My father, for example. A few weeks after that exhibit, he had a stroke and has been speechless since then. Some people back then laughed at him because of his old-fashioned love for Michaelangleo and his brothers. Ubbo Enninga and his work take me seriously and I hope that people don't let themselves be bored by clever minds, but rather let their entire selves be addressed.

The person who thinks art means nothing to him, the person who wants to be taken seriously by art, who wants to meet art - for this person, Ubbo Enninga opens the door and calls him by his name.

Welcome, Man! > Sebastian Gronbach
remove text


1955 Born in Biedenkopf, Germany
1975-76 Studied at Philipps-University, Marburg
1976-77 Studied at the College of Fine Arts, Kassel
1977-83 Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart
1984 Married Elcilyn
1983-86 Teacher for Bronze-casting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart
1983 Scholarship from the Baden-Württemberg Art Foundation
1985 Villa Romana, Florence, Italy
1991 Studio-grant Baden-Württemberg
1992-93 Teacher of Drawing at the Faculty of Architecture, Stuttgart University
Lives and works in Berlin and Stuttgart.


Peter Arlt
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Erfurt, 1994, S. 7-10

Jos Arnold
Dreidimensionale Gestaltung
GhK Prisma Nr.16, Kassel 1977, S. 130-133

Hubert Böhner
in: Ubbo Enninga, Skulpturen
Ostfildern-Ruit (Cantz-Verlag), 1995, S. 6/7, S.32-111

Doris Braus van Essen
Erotik - Neue Bilder zu einem alten Thema
Katalog zur Ausstellung im Heidelberger Schloss
Heidelberg, 1993, S. 5-7

Ubbo Enninga
Alte Welt - Neue Welt
Text im Katalog zur Ausstellung
Stuttgart, 1999, S.10

Ubbo Enninga
Vision Manifestation
Katalog zur Ausstellung

Lydia Funk
in: Ubbo Enninga, Skulpturen
Ostfildern-Ruit (Cantz-Verlag), 1995, S.44-98

Marita Henkel
25-jähriges Jubiläum des
Abiturientenjahrgangs 1973
in: Lahntalschule Biedenkopf Jahrbuch 1998/99,
Haiger,1999, S. 28-36

Birgit Hund
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Göppingen, 1992, S.17-21

Ingeborg Kimmig
Stipendiaten der Kunststiftung
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Stuttgart, 1983

Werner Marx
Skulptur vor Ort
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Heilbronn,1995, S. 6/7

Werner Meyer
Skulpturen im Stadtraum
in: Grossplastiken
Korntal-Münchingen, 1993, S. 6/7

Gerhard Pätzold
40 Jahre Marburger Kunstverein
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Marburg, 1993

Otto Pannewitz
Kunst Gegenwärtig
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Sindelfingen, 1994, S. 9-12

Eberhard Pröger
Katalog zur Ausstellung
Korntal-Münchingen, 1993, S. 10

Eberhard Pröger
Enninga im Alten Bau
in: Ubbo Enninga, Skulpturen
Ostfildern-Ruit (Cantz-Verlag), 1995, S. 24-30

Eberhard Pröger
Lyrische Seele Archaische Präsenz
Lotrecht im Kopf
in: Ubbo Enninga, Skulpturen
Ostfildern-Ruit (Cantz-Verlag), 1995, S. 62/63

Anke Seitz
Ubbo Enninga und Jürgen Kubben:
Ein Spiel der Gegensätze?
in: Skulpturenrundweg Innen & Außen
Rechberghausen 2007

Mihai Tropa
Eros - Die Würde
in: Ubbo Enninga, Skulpturen
Ostfildern-Ruit (Cantz-Verlag), 1995, S. 21/22

Reinhard Valenta, u. a., Hrsg.
Buch zur Ausstellung in Wehr/Baden
Kronach (Angles-Verlag), 2003

Andreas Vogel
Zwischen Tradition und Transzendenz
in: Ubbo Enninga, Skulpturen
Ostfildern-Ruit (Cantz-Verlag), 1995, S. 10-30

Rainer Wehr
Der Blick, der das Porträt hervorbringt.
Stuttgart, 1988, S. 33-35

Gabriele Zimmermann
Ubbo Enninga
Katalog zur Ausstellung im Kunsthaus Bühler
Stuttgart, 1994, S.92