Ursula Kolbe has captured this fugitive quality in her voluptuous canvases. Her oneiric colours, by turns diaphanous, dispersing light, or polished, reflecting it, thick, like clotted cream or soft and smooth like velvet, are suffused with a silken, insinuating radiance, revealing that layered otherness. Almost (in a Tango Moment), for example, breathing the word meaning ‘not quite’, richly conveys the sensual, mysterious intimacy of the Tango but not its completion. Words tumble half expressed through Ursula’s images, emerging from and withdrawing into the vapour. Her paintings approach the moment and simultaneously avoid it.

Conversely, her shoes, bisected and maimed, dance shoes that can no longer dance, address the moment. The Mi Noche Triste series examines it – good or bad – in its totality. A sequined heel balanced perfectly on its axis. Exhilaration. The matching heel felled by its misery. Desolation. El Tango Diablo gleefully points to the mischievous devilry of a dance that possesses you while the undulating caprice of Mi Noche Triste VII (Castaway), warns of what can happen when you allow the dance to carry you off. This is the chiaroscuro of the Tango, its light-filled anguish, its dolorous joy.

It has been said that if your heart hasn’t known pain, you can’t dance the Tango. Because Tango is all about yearning; the broken heart, the unrequited love, the disappointed spirit. And it’s all about bliss.
Kiriaki Orfanos, Writer, 2009