Head Markus Sauermann sculptor
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Exhibition opening speech of Prof. Thomas Duttenhoefer
for the exhibition of Markus Sauermann 1999

Arts is nothing else but feeling. Without the knowledge of volume, proportion, colours and without the dexterity the lively feeling is paralyzed. What would the greatest poet bring forth in a foreign country which language he does not understand? Unfortunately, there are poets among the new generation of artists who refuse learning to speak. They can only babble. These sentences, taken from the testimony of August Rodin and published in 1911, are timeless. They show us that the mentioned bases of design have been and remain the constant base! Concerning the current interpretation of the term “design” the awareness is required, that the design has to be recognized as the origin. It is regarded as fundamental meaning. But if quality is announced, it is always valid to say, content is shape and shape is content.
In July of last year a broadcast transmission dealt with the influence of the new media on creation of literature. In view of the usage of speech computers and software for lyric poetry the president of the academy for language and literature in Darmstadt, Herbert Heckmann, spoke of a creeping cultural revolution. By now this medium has intruded all areas of life in often helpful and useful forms.
Wide areas of design make use of the new media for the creation of virtual worlds. Within movies already dead actors can be resurrected, mythical creatures fly through space and time, changing their appearance within fractions of a second. These tricks seem to be real in a fatal way. Fast results of input and output generate rapid results. The change to a Mc-Donalds mentality of the culture becomes more and more noticeable. It is necessary to talk with thunder and heavenly fireworks to limp and sleeping senses. But the beauty's voice cries quietly, she goes silently to the brightest souls. And nevertheless: What drives the sculptor to the shape, the draughtsman to the line, the painter to the colour? It is an elementary need like breathing and sleeping. The young Markus Sauermann knows of this meaning. He investigates the stones in searching for harmony, substance and inner monumentality. The stone grown over millennia compel concentration and the ultimate.

Sauermann represents the original picture of a sculptor, i.e. by applying the subtractive method he finds he form concealed within the stone. In preparation to the gigantic stone figuration at Nierstein, he walked for several days around the enormous block, to wrest picture ideas from it. The honest work with the stone bans any type of pseudo virtuosity. It takes weeks, or with big sculptures even months of manual work with stonemason's hammer and chisel to release the figuration from the stone. Sauermann rather avoids machines. The stone receives his breath through measured out strokes with the hammer. Through this he achieves a living structure, as in the case of his latest work in diabas, where the sculptor resisted the seduction of this stone. Seduction means here to grind and polish the stone. Through finest structures it appears as if the stone received a sensual and fine epidermis. This is also valid for a torso cut into diabas, were its sensitive ponderation is expressed beautifully.

The gleam of the stone can be found in another simple cubic form, were light reflexes give an impression of a precious containment with unknown content. Shrine could be a possible title for it. The chisel leaves diverse traces, traces of memory

Everything which is and which has – physically spoken – impacting forces on its surrounding, leaves more or less durable traces. The whole world its history on geology and mankind can be understood as a comprisal of traces and structures, which geologists, artists, biologists or historians discover and try to interpret from there own perspectives. Traces are relics of a presence which withdraw from direct escapes the direct tangibility due to the conditions of time and space. What has passed can only be captured in the presence by its traces.

As a condition of perception these traces generate depending on the situation curiosity, fear, hope or longing while following them. They can promise passable ways but can mislead also. The trace survives the actual presence. Traceless offence is already seen in the old testament to be an expression of fugacity. „Our life passes like the trace of a cloud and dissolves itself like a mist, which is scared away by the rays of the sun". The sculptor has to stand up to an enormous stylistic variety, all possible usages of ordinary and unusual materials, a variety of good and bad forms as well as new media. And it is heavy upon him, not only because of the weight of his medium. It seems that all was said and all done but it only seems so. Again and again the fascination of the stone and its elementary forms becomes noticeable. Sauermann, a modest man, confines himself to so-called simple forms in attitude and shape. But within diminution lies a distinct a mount of wisdom. On top he senses that the compact realization of his recognition of the world with its essential formal means is the appropriate style if it bears fruit in figuration.

The sentence taken from Joseph Campells mythology of the west applies to Sauermann: „The creative people are the sensitive souls which once were called seers. More important for the future of a culture than statesmen or armies are the masters of the intellectual breath, by which the clay turned into mankind" Markus Sauermann opens himself to the stone and us the eyes for the small sensations of the material and lets us hear the breathing of his creations. In the dialogue between author and material its creations arise. They are marked by touchiness of the respect for the structure being inherent in the stone. Restriction not unfolding is the principle. By that succinct configurations emerge, whose secret and language we discover.

An old African proverb says: "Whoever wants to reach the well has to swim against the current"