Two points in India/Three months in time
(Kerala & Mangalore / December 2010 – March 2011) Documenting a Metaphor
One morning after the coiling hawk had finished announcing the first sunlight at 5:30 I saw black wings darting across the door opening to the large extended balcony. Everyday was spent on that elevated walless space shaded by layers and layers of coconut palm. The density of this canopy was so complete that there were only occasional blinks of direct sunlight that could reach the space below and it sometimes seemed like I was living the life of a bug crawling slowly around under a pile of loose leaves not ever knowing what the outside world would be like if I could ever find my way out.
But then on that morning I watched from my mattress as those large black crow wings ducked, dodged, and faked every opposing leaf and tree trunk in the mire of tangled jungle and with breath-taking speed and confidence disappeared into the distance towards the open space of the Arabian Sea.
I had found a metaphor for the inexplicable force that is directing a subcontinent of megacities and rural routine from an ancient tradition-bound past into a self-empowered future in the age of contemporary globalization.
Eines Morgens, nachdem der kreisende Falke die ersten Sonnenstrahlen um 5:30 angekündigt hatte, sah ich schwarze Flügel durch die Türöffnung zum weiträumigen Balkon schießen. Ich verbrachte Tag für Tag auf diesem erhöhten, mauerlosen Raum, der stark überschattet war durch viele Schichten von Kokospalmwedeln. Die Dichte dieses Baldachins war so total, dass nur gelegentlich ein Strahl direkten Sonnenlichts den Boden erreichen konnte. Manchmal schien es, als lebte ich das Leben eines Käfers, der langsam unter einem Haufen lockeren Laubes herumkroch, ohne zu wissen, wie die Aussenwelt sein würde, sollte es mir je gelingen, einen Weg nach draussen zu finden.
Aber dann, an diesem Morgen, beobachtete ich von meiner Matratze aus wie jene grosse, schwarze Kraehe auf- und untertauchte, blitzschnell mit gewandten Bewegungen jedem Baumstamm, jedem Blatt und anderem Hindernis auswich, das Dschungelgeflecht überwand und mit atemberaubender Geschwindigkeit und Vertrauen in der Ferne entschwand hin zum offenen Raum des Arabischen Meers.
Ich hatte eine Metapher gefunden für die unerklärliche Macht, die einen Subkontinent von Megacities und ländlicher Routine aus einer alten, traditionsgebundenen Vergangenheit in eine selbstbestimmte Zukunft im gegenwärtigen Zeitalter der Globalisierung treibt.
India / November 2009 – Februar 2010
The subscript of contemporary globalization is that it raises a whole new order of questions. Fundamental to all these questions is the search for basic principles and first assumptions. It becomes an argument for agreement but also for making subversive art. The motivating drive for this project in India has been to explore the concept of ‘purity’. It is an unattainable ideal in all world religions and as such influences the behavior of all cultures and individuals. The issue of ‘purity’ has been most accessible to me in India and is one more reason why that subcontinent has become a vast reservoir of informal dialogue and occupies so much of my studio space.
The work in this “Purity Project” series integrates the ‘process of making’ into its meaning. It has been done with the most fundamental materials: cardboard, carbon, earth, textile, hand sewing (in part), as well as the ‘feed in’ of indigenous tailors and carpenters. It all began one late afternoon when a man stopped on a back dirt road and threatened me as well as the unfinished artwork when he saw me use water for the drawings from a recent rainfall that had collected in the potholes. The questions increased a few days later when the workshop of the tailor with whom I was working burned down.
No Mad Man
Munich / 2009
Wax and bronze casting have a symbiotic relationship both in their entanglement of process as well as the metaphor of their associative meanings.
Unlike other forms of life, mankind is driven to go beyond what it needs; eating, procreation, shelter, to sustain itself. Perhaps that drive to consciously question, explore, invest and risk concepts and energy for the future is what ultimately defines its humanity.
This exhibition is all about subversion and the force of change that works below the status quo to question the assumptions of power that strive to maintain itself. The implications suggest a “moral imperative” but also a survival instinct.
Bronze art is forever associated with the “cire perdue” method of casting, where a malleable wax form is replaced with the ‘permanence’ of fixed metal. It becomes the cultural equivalence of “monumental”, a signature for the emotional claim on the influence of power and time. i.e… absolute power and eternity. Wax is bronze’s antitheses. It is malleable, able to take on new form with the slightest external influence of physical or temperature change. By enwrapping the bronze with wax there is a suggestion of a ‘deconstruct’ of the status quo, back to a layer before permanence and immutability.
This drive to advance into unstable and uncertain states is fundamental to survival and at the same time a form of subversion inherent in any claim to power or status.