Rubica von Streng

lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Studies of Arts | Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe | Ernst Caramelle
2014 Studies of Arts | Universität der Künste Berlin | Mark Lammert
2018 Studies of Art History | Freie Universität Berlin
2018 Graduate of Arts | Universität der Künste Berlin
2018 Master of Arts | Universität der Künste Berlin

The view into the future plays a central role in Rubica von Streng's oeuvre – whether it is intuitions that break through, or fact-based fears that she expresses in many of her paintings. The inescapable, the truths we must confront, include the consequences of environmental degradation, the effects of the climate crisis, the division of society, and the loss of freedom as a result of political upheaval. Topics that are current today and will probably remain so for a while – certainly not easy fare.


Nevertheless, especially in the paintings of the „PortLand“ cycle, which she has been working on since 2018, von Streng manages to give the gravity of the subjects treated an unheard-of lightness. „Substance becomes atmosphere [in these paintings]; stone becomes light,“ wrote Dutch curator Jurriaan Benschop in an essay on her „Limits of PortLand“ series. This is partly due to the particular use of color and form, and partly to the sophisticated, filigree painting technique with which she manages to make the complexity of the world and the burning questions of the present comprehensible for the viewers – perhaps even a little more bearable.


A special form of entropy is at work in von Streng's pictures, that rather unfortunate physical-chemical condition which is responsible for the fact that everything strives for the state of greatest possible disorder, however much we may long for orderly states.

„Viewed on a cosmic scale, we have no chance at all of stopping this trend toward chaos,“ she states, referring to physical certainties. Such findings and the corresponding scientific discourses have long preoccupied von Streng; her private library on these topics measures several shelf meters. „To understand how the world ticks,“ she says, „it's helpful to fathom its mechanisms as best I can. I prefer to look deeper into the matter instead of settling for superficialities.“


Fortunately, the Second Law of Thermodynamics exists, which she makes use of in her artistic work: „On a small scale, such as in a closed system of canvas and paint, I can trick entropy and create order in chaos.“ This results in predominantly abstract expressionist works that oscillate between inner and outer worlds, between chance and necessity. Emotion and reflection meet, wrestling for dominance. The result of this clash is not predetermined and often arises intuitively. „The painting process takes a lot of energy,“ she admits. But the energy-sapping battle for composition is worth fighting, especially since it repeatedly produces quite astonishing paintings that sometimes overwhelm the vocabulary of art criticism. In other words: Anyone who wants to sort Rubica von Streng's works into art-theoretical categories will have a hard time. It is not necessary anyway.


Frank Lassak, ARTMAPP 2/2023

Media Coverage


Interview | with Spiegelberger Stiftung | Hamburger Unternehmer Magazin

Feature |Totentanz“ in Stralsund | NDR Kultur

Interview |Totentanz“ in Stralsund | Ostsee-Zeitung

Portrait |Jenseits aller Kategorien“ | ARTMAPP




Interview | with Ludwig Graf Westarp | Kunstleben Berlin

Portrait |Rubica von Streng porträtiert Landschaften“ | MAZ

Interview |Die Stimmungen der Zeit festhalten“ | Art in Berlin

Review | „Limits of PortLand im Musee Dezentral“ | Art in Berlin




Portrait | „Über Rubica von Streng“ | Tagesspiegel

Review | „Wie Farbe berührt“ | taz




Article | „Natur verschlingt Mensch“ | Rheinische Post

Review | „Wenn der Mensch aus der Platane schlüpft“ | WZ




Cover Story | „Totentanz Aktuell“ 233 | Europäische Totentanzvereinigung

Catalogues and Books


Catalogue | Totentanz | Kulturkirche Stralsund | Isensee Verlag


Limits of PortLand | First Edition


Towards PortLand | Second Edition


Catalogue | Taking Root | KIT - Kunst im Tunnel und Kunsthalle Düsseldorf

Towards PortLand | First Edition

Totentanz Dance of the Dead Danse Macabre | First Edition

The book “Limits of PortLand” was published in September 2022 as a high-quality illustrated book in limited edition. In addition to more than 40 reproductions of the paintings and sculptures, the book contains an essay by Dutch curator Jurriaan Benschop as well as an interview in which the artist talks about the creation of the works, her motivation and intention.


ISBN: 978-3-00-073275-1


In 2019, the first volume of the “PortLand” series of books came out, called “Towards PortLand”. It described in great detail, how the “PortLand” work cycle started, and which ideas and motivations it is based upon. Meanwhile, two editions of the book are sold out, its contents, however, will be re-edited and incorporated in an upcoming collected edition that will cover the complete work cycle, planned for 2025.