Saturday, 12 October 2013

Fascinating Indecision

“Calm and motion, dissolution and density, the contrastive play with gravity and overcoming it, with reality and simulation, (...) rising or falling?” These are some of the words used by Michael Stoeber to describe the absolutely mesmerizing gravity-defying sculptures by Cornelia Konrads.

Working in the area now commonly known as Land Art, just like Rob Mulholland or Andy Goldsworhty, Cornelia Konrads is a German artist from Wuppertal whose astounding creations challenge our senses and our imagination, while they also irresistibly fascinate and intrigue us in their disturbing lightness and eerie composition.

Imagine yourself wandering in a beautiful forest and suddenly coming across a gateway made of heaps of branches which, at half-height, seem to be literally floating in the air. In fact, they have been mounted upon an iron frame and suspended with steel rope so as to look like a door frame whose top seems to drift upwards and outwards, as if melting into the surrounding unspoilt wilderness of the woodland. Is this Passage magically rising to the canopy of the huge trees around it or is it settling down to form a solid, stable structure?

Venture to cross the threshold of that doorway into that magic forest and keep on walking. You may find yourself by The Gate, two posts made of found rocks, which seem to mark yet another entrance into some unsuspected and unexpected territory. As you look up the two pillars, they seem to cease being a structure, with the top rocks conquering a life of their own by ascending into the air, getting rid of any man-made constraints to become something ethereal and free. Again, you may ask if the stones are flying away in their recently achieved life and freedom, or if – on the contrary – they are gracefully settling down to complete the columns.

 And then, as a clearing in that whimsical woodland opens up before your eyes, you may be surprised at the sight of a Pile of stones whose peak seems to break away from the static heap on the floor, gaining invisible wings and hovering in mid-air, offering the most fantastic and beautiful sight to wanderers. Upon closer inspection, viewers can see wires holding the suspended stones which, from the distance, are not perceivable, thereby assigning this artwork with a strong mystical feature.

In fact, Cornelia Konrads’s astonishing sculptures give viewers the sensation that they are, somehow, dissolving into the surrounding Nature before their very eyes, defying gravity, place or time concepts, and inviting a contemplative interaction between humans and their surroundings. These thought-provoking and extremely beautiful installations further draw attention to the paradoxes of life and reality, allowing time and space to dwindle, while they also encourage viewers to ponder on the consequences of human intervention into Nature.

A further remarkable aspect of Konrads’s artwork is that her installations always find their source of inspiration in the local culture of the places where they are displayed, thereby promoting a connection between Nature and Culture. Moreover, the fading, dissolving aspect of her art pieces may awake very disconcerting feelings in our hearts, for they touch our innermost human contradictions, therefore deeply disturbing our certainties and everything we commonly take for granted.

In short and quoting Stoeber again, Cornelia Konrads’s art may be said to stand somewhere between “moments of an irritating and fascinating indecision”.

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