Fishing for compliments (original title “Der Menschenangler”)

This is definetely the oldest piece for the category “Introducing work pieces” and obviously not in line with my recent works. Nevertheless I still like the absurdity of it.

This photography dates back to the 80s, maybe 1987/88, when I was 14 or 15 years old. It is the oldest experimental photograph in my archive, taken with a small analog camera. It was shot at the shore of the island Sylt, far northwest of Germany, surrounded by the Northern Sea. I used to spend many summer holidays there in my childhood and youth. The red spot below the center of the image is actually my mother, wearing a hilarious fire-red raincoat, that always made my father ashamed to leave the house with her. He attached a lot of importance to seem like a truly conservative fellow, wearing something so fire-red seemed wicked to him and completely ruined the facade he liked to maintain.

As you see, I started taking photographs quite early in my life, but in the beginning, I didn’t own a single lens reflex camera, but one of those little black plastic boxes with one build-in lens, that only allowed point and shoot. It kept bugging me that I had not much influence on the resulting image this way, and I started experimenting with double exposures to do something more creative with the limited options I had. After shooting one image, I simply didn’t use the transport wheel, but shot another one first. Over the years, moving around a lot, I lost almost all negatives and images of those days. But this image somehow made it until today. Sadly, the negative is lost, too. The image displayed here is actually not a scan but a mobile snapshot of the original, so the quality is not very high.

Last summer, I entered this image into a contest on Photocrowd, called “Absurdist created completely in-camera“. While the crowd-rating put it on rank 79, the judge  of the contest picked it as a winner. The original German title “Der Menschenangler” would actually translate to “fishing for humans”, but “fishing for compliments” still seems to be a more proper translation.

The “Wheel of Seven”

The “Wheel of Seven”, made of bones, teeth and vertebrae

Although I do prefer to not explain every artwork I create (and there are for sure ones, you will never find me writing about), I like to continue to introduce some artworks to the interested reader. This special introduction I am writing on the request of the new owner of this piece.

This is a unique sculpture piece that I have created in March this year, in a series of various sunwheels made of different natural materials, it is called “Wheel of Seven“. It is one of my personal favourites.

There are many ways of interpretation and I will start with one that I did not primarily have in mind when creating it, but that also correlates nicely. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, which was actually a hobbyhorse of mine when I was a child, along with all the old mythologies and their pantheons of gods, you sure are familiar with the Greek god and personification of the sun, the god Helios.  Helios wears a crown of a radiant halo and drives the chariot of the sun across the sky each day. In many depictions (not in all) his radiant halo is seven-pointed. Same goes for the equivalent in Roman mythology, the sun god Sol.

While I originally refer to it as another sunwheel because of its radial structure, I also see it as a “wheel of planets”, where the sun is only a part of the bigger image. The seven refer to the so-called classical planets, that are visible with the plain eye and have therefor been known the longest in astronomic history. This dates back to the Chaldeans, from the far southeastern corner of Mesopotamia, that was later assimilated into Babylonia. Sun and moon where included into the list, to correlate to the pantheon of gods. The Chaldeans had a special order for the planets, each refering to one of the seven weekdays it is supposed to rule: Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Sun.

If you would connect the seven endpoints of this sculpture, you get a (slightly distorted, due to the features of the natural materials) seven-pointed star (heptagram), that is open for many other interpretations as well, from christian to neopagan to thelemitic, and even Game of Thrones fans will find their own point of view I guess. But if you have to make this connection lines, I very much prefer the alchemical point of view, which leads us back to those seven classical planets mentioned above.

The Wheel of Seven is made of natural materials. No animals have been killed for this sculpture, of course, all parts are from animals who died for different reasons quite some time ago. The radial bones are of goat or sheep (I am not a biologist, so sadly I can’t tell the difference) found on the Canary Islands. The fox teeth ornaments at the end of every bone are of German origin. The vertebrae in the center of the piece is from a dolphin, I found it many years ago on the beach of Heimaey, the small volcanic island southwest of Iceland.

The Wheel of Seven is not available anymore, it has been sold and will very soon travel to its new owner in Munich, Bavaria.

On my own account I like to add something to this post. I have a few ideas and sketches for more bone sculptures, some small, some larger scale. These mainly require older bones, that have preferedly been exposed to the elements for quite some time, like the ones I used in the Wheel of Seven. Although goat and sheep bones are very nice, the bones I am looking for can be of any animal and size. From where I live, such bones are hard to come by. I found such in the South of Europe, specially in Spain and Greece, but also in Northern countries. If you live in an area where it is possible to find them in larger amounts, please send me a message to atelier(.)abraxas(at)gmail(.)com. I might include such locations into my future travel plans. If you should be willing to collect some bone material for me yourself, I am willing to pay a small finders fee as well as the packing & postage for it of course. 

Leger des Heils Installation | Release “Imperium”

I have mentioned this work before in my old Archives, but today I will write a bit more from “behind the scenes”. I created this piece(s) in the second half of last year, after Mario, the man behind the musical project Leger des Heils had contacted me, to ask me for some visual works for his album release “Imperium”. I could not be happier with this request, because I have known and liked Mario’s music for many years and before he asked, I had no idea that he had followed my work as well for quite some time.

While the previous releases all have a more bright approach in design, Mario was looking for something more dark to illustrate his musical works. He came to the right place. Although I have created some pretty bright things myself, it is still the darker side of art & design that I enjoy creating the most.

He gave me the (at that point unreleased and of course top secret) tracks of the album, as a soundtrack to work to. I loved the album immediately. Because I was going to create something entirely new for the album art, I decided to do it on a larger scale. The result is this installation, each piece measuring 40x40cm. These images are not paintings, but digital collages based on photographies. Every piece has been printed once and I mounted it on medium density fibreboard and sealed it with various layers. It is still possible to frame them additionally, but not necessary. The whole installation measures 120x80cm plus a few tolerance cm between the images.

While working in the area of media design, it sometimes is more of a service work than a collaboration. But in this case it was very different. It was a true collaboration and certainly not our last artistic project together. When it came to picking the covers for the cd release and the record (they are not identical), we immediately picked the same pieces.

Ususally, when I reveal art to a client, I am a bit nervous, will he really like it, or not? But I remember the evening before I revealed the final works to Mario, a friend was writing to me, to wish me good luck for the viewing. My spontaneous answer was, I do not need luck, I know he is going to love it. And I knew I was right, when I saw his face the next day, looking at the artworks. Thank you very much, Mario, it was an absolute pleasure to work with you!

I had various requests to sell just one or two images from this installation, but I am not willing to take the pieces apart from each other. It would destroy the installation forever. The six pieces were created to stay together in the special order they are displayed in. It’s either all of them or none. (Price on request)


Leger des Heils: Imperium

“Five years after their latest opus Leger des Heils return with their new album “Imperium“, their most intense and personal work to date. “Imperium” contains ten songs of ritual poetry, fragility and enlightenment, which cast a glimpse in to the spiritual life of Leger des Heils. It’s an album of hymnal music, designated to the guardian of light. The artwork created by Laetitia Mantis, high priestess of magical art, is woven into the concept as a perfect visual supplement to the music while the album was mastered by Michael Powers (Area Bombardment).” (Text from the official release announcement)