Rafael Peréz - en
Rafael Peréz - de
Rafael Peréz - es

Lelia Driben - en
Lelia Driben - es

Agnes Kohlmeyer - de
Agnes Kohlmeyer - en

Flaming red, deep blue and un-erasable asphalt black. Full of passion and precision and “looking for the inner picture”

“The palm leaves move quickly like viper tongues,
into the throats of the red gladiolas,
And the moon’s- sickle laughs 
As tough furtively like a faun’s eye.

The world holds life embraced
In Saturn rays
And through dreams of the night
Emanates purpur …”
(from: Syrinxliedchen by Else Lasker-Schüler)

There we find love for fullness of color and at the same time highly dramatic poetry of a great poet –“her texts and poems are to me like German Haikus”. There is there a self-evident intimacy with literature, music, film, and dance in general, and there we find a life developed by many personal encounters with highly respected writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers, and choreographers. With some of these there has been, and continues to be a working together. This speaks of a continuous mutual enriching, and with it an expanding of ideas of arts that intermix, and this, ever since the beginning was felt as the basic feeling in the relatively narrow situation of the then East-Germany that still existed in Wolfgang Scholz’ childhood, and early artistic production. There weren’t many at that time that were self-conscious, nor many culture-creators known in the rest of the world, but they spoke the same language and pulled, without doubt, the same cords. This obviously led to a stronger feeling of belonging together and of solidarity.

An artist with such a breadth of personal artistic ambitions, someone who is in a striving search for clear goals in as many areas as painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film, directing, and choreography, and feels at home in all of these as Wolfgang Scholz, can be called, despite everything, a true rarity.
Even if now a days art and artists look again, and more than ever for each other; and even if nearly every artist that paints tries to prepare for these with drawings, or commonly tries to describe his sculpture (the three dimensional variant) in designs; and even if filmmaking artist also do photography –or the other way around- we do not find in this intensive, nearly excessive way of doing things that which we see in the Dresden-born Wolfgang Scholz, for whom working with the different expressive medias of art is such, that he can be called a  true exception. And yet isn’t life itself such, that it offers this many-fold scope, and that we can love and enjoy theatre, music, literature, visual arts equally? 
Why, then should a visual artist want to restrain himself, if he has access to, the talent for, and the desire to create in one, as well as in another, or even in several fields of art.

Recently a small book of poems by Paul Klee fell in my hands. Paul Klee was, as one knows, a musician, before he came to painting, and he didn’t shy away from the use of language, when it wanted to “come out” of him. Most of these small poems are to me really like a whole harmonious totality: “each time more bound with the sub-conscious image dimension” (P. K. in Schriften zur Form). They seem nearly like a seamless flowing from thought- fragments, of beautiful, masterly “splaterred” colors up to most bizarre ideas, and they are related to the equally lovely fantasy- filled paintings and drawings of Paul Klee. Yes, without a doubt we have there a strong link, a working together of the different art expressions. We can read in Klees diaries: “At the bottom, to be a poet, this recognition should not be for the visual arts, an obstacle! And if I were obliged to be a poet I would wish to be anything else!” And yet, this shows us clearly how differently diverse art expressions can be bound, in the hands of one and the same person.

Surely there is a huge amount of self- discipline in the elaboration of all the technical aspects that are needed to master such diverse areas of art, that also necessarily have to be worked at, from very distanced places, even if, from the point of view of content they add a lot to each other, and unite as well as strengthen each other. And of course not everyone, nor every artist, has it in him to realize such self-discipline.
“From early morning till noon, I work on developing multimedia pieces, in the afternoon till evening I paint and work on the art-objects, whereas filming, postproduction and rehearsal happen in concentrated spaces of time”, the artist explains, in reference to this and it is self-explanatory that such relatively precise time-planning is absolutely necessary. On the other hand, it must be that the next to each other, and with each other, of different work areas, also create a constant feedback and exchange. Starting from the constantly changing rhythms of the different stages of work: from the idea over the initial stage, the working-up of one’s strength and deepening into the work, until the satisfaction of experiencing the climax and, perhaps, the feeling of happiness when the work is finished, until –in our special case – beginning a new job in a totally different area. In such a case no work, not the first, the second nor the third will ever be boring. To be stopped, may happen at times, but it may be, even then, be of help to give other work some time, simply to get some distance and then, when certain ideas or steps have been further developed; when it has, so to speak, “ripened”, then go back to the interrupted work.
I suspect, that behind this undoubtedly not- everyday way of behaving, there is a reason: the artist’s strong desire, that all these things are perhaps related to one huge search in which different things are infinitely generated in different ways and forms to be expressed in images with a great variety of effects on the spectator.

Let us go through the different “roads”, the groups of work or expressions. We have the photo-series “Köpfe”(“Heads”), still done in Dresden, and the “Figuren” (“Figures”), the so called “Links- und Rechtsgesichter”(“Left- and Right Heads”), as well as the “Schwimmerfiguren”(“Swimmers”), all rigorously kept in black and white, in which the artist tried to “clarify things”, for himself as well as for others. Together with these appear the picture-series with the same themes as well as, shortly there after, the first experiences in film. The short film “Traum1” (“Dream 1”) is created in collaboration, for all his further work in film (still in the eighties: another feature-film as well as several documentaries) the artist proceeds first of all in an auto-didactic way. The materials for the films are self made, artistically so, and with painstaking details (a heart turning by itself, flowers loosing their petals etc.), all of these elements that like a red string reappear in different productions, are then mixed-or-bound with pieces of more or less well known films from the silent period, or with amateur shots of natural catastrophes, of expeditions and discoveries or strange features. Here too we find a search for the correct order of the “inner connections”, with the help of dramatic and beautiful, unquietening, intriguing, and sometimes even if their brutality and “trueness” are difficult to stand, it all strung together through images. Precisely images that include the unending fullness of life. Citations from literature or film-history, from the everyday and personal experience, from people, their fantasies, their fears or dreams, all this can become the carrying themes of such “narrations”. These are, of course all pictures in movement.
Since 1987, more or less, begins the work –in drawings and objects – with china paper, “a live” material, that makes sounds, is delicate and rough at the same time, and is always a material that “reacts”. Together with these elaborations he works on painting and film, and there are as well, the first performances, actions and regular exhibitions of all the work areas, often in their full intermixing.

Scholz starts to write screenplays in 1994 as well to do films for TV- these are guarantees for good entertainment that were mostly commissioned works; but also experimental films, participations in festivals and similar things- and above all he dares to do real multimedia stage pieces, which show the efforts of this artist, to put together single mosaic stones into a coherent whole, which in the last analysis ends up being most intensive and accomplished.

This much is certain, in a way all these works –photos, paintings, drawings on paper, the objects, the films and the screenplays, as well as the multimedia stage pieces, which as single pieces have each their autonomy - yet they still have something that ties them together, they have common elements that foster this, and it is due, in a great measure, if we look at it, to the creative process. Each of these individual works functions, in fact, as a part of a larger whole, a total artwork, so to speak. This signifies in itself the possibility to continue developing, always “in search for the inner image”, which has become for the artist Wolfgang Scholz a central issue. He stresses, again and again, that he isn’t about fixing the interpretations, rather that even during the working of a painting, there be room for ”chances that make things meet”. There is always a large space reserved, so that possibilities for the new may happen, for a new path.

And when we look again closely at these pages drawings, and note their delicate, and extremely reduced sign -likeness, held fast on such  “live-stuff” as china paper –or paper form Nepal, or even parchment- we find that the artist likes to take his materials form carefully collected ones such as used paper, that has its “own history”, on which he creates, with ink, china-ink, pencil and blood, whose purpose here isn’t the unchallengeable, unsettling - since for life such body secrets are supposedly necessary- but rather, its very materialistic features: a liquid that dries hard and fast and therefore contract extremely particularly on the soft base or support.
And when after this we look at the ever bigger paintings, mostly in strong sensible colors- red, in all shades, bright yellow, or deep blue “helium- coelin or Prussian-blue, bound together with an opaque and “definitive” black asphalt or bitumen; we see that these pictures have a “flowing” quality; specially if we consider the plentiful dripping down paint with its fascinating liquid traces. This is done with turpentine to soften up again the asphalt that might have gotten too hard, and thus “carry away” some of that which might have conquered too much space –or it is done with a lot of water.
After this we recognize in the pictures or on the paper again a central theme: the figure. It can be a single one, or two or three- very seldom more than that. But these figures are not really “figurely” in the sense of the intention of the painter, but they are rather forms, that appeared during the process of working the materials of the painting: forms, rather more likely structures, or outlines- or other layers such as sand, chalk. Again forms can appear from taking away of layers, materials, or color. This technique and its results allow the association to bodily notions such as skin. “Skinning”, is the term used by the artist for one of his early video-films to give an example –and with this we invest the works with something that is not randomly, but truly, alive; something nearly human, pictures with many layers, in which the important part is that which is underneath, inside, in the depth of the pictures, or better said, “works”, that because of this feature become three-dimensional.
This art is always about form, that becomes movement, it appears always as figures in movement, whether they appear in paintings, the drawings, the wire-figures, even in the boxes, the so called “portable art”.
Each time more, when we sink further into this artists work, and take into account, for instance, his strong affinity, his interest, and his professional involvement in the dance and choreographic world, we will understand more than clearly the origin of this connection. Most the pictures and drawings appear in a certain way, like painted dance. And the dance of the single figures, those that the artist personally put on stage appear again linkable to the bodies in movement form ”Movement, in Relation to Time and Space”.
Bodies related to sound and light with materials – with the over dimensioned mirror image photographs of body parts that invite to be duplicated on a wall of paper, which gives the feeling of being an impediment that expressed through a dancer that wraps herself protectingly up in a long strip of china paper, only to then rip it off desperately and into small pieces as though wanting to get rid of the feeling of being reduced (this in the last part of “Landscapes of Love”, 2001). Only after this does the body find rest, it evolves from an each time ever faster more “fluid” movements that comes into the body, then again a slowing down, doubting, searching; at least in this piece, waiting for the ”other” movement.  The body thus reacts to the “chance encounters of different perceptions”, out of which actually all life seems to be shaped.

Venice, November 2004

Agnes Kohlmeyer, is an art critic and curator
Born in Germany in 1954, Agnes Kohlmeyer studied Slavic studies and history at the Freie Universität in Berlin. From 1992-1993 she conducted research, at the Getty Center for the History of Art in Santa Monica - California, on German participation in the Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition (1895-1968). From 1998-99 she worked with Harald Szeemann as assistant curator for the 48th edition of the Venice Biennale of Art. She has curated installations for places such as the Castello of Udine. From 2001-03 she managed the Kunstverein of Ludwigsburg (Germany), acting as curator the exhibitions. She teaches “Trends in contemporary art” at the Faculty of Arts and Design University IUAV of Venice. She lives and works in Venice, Italy.