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VERONIKA’S GARDEN

There are only few women-sculptors with a sense of monumental form. And only several of them have the ability to connect in the art the new form and »archaic« (or eternal) idea of Human Being. Veronika Blum is among them. And from that point of view we do not have the need to specify: »woman-sculptor«. She is just The Sculptor.

Her studio near Berlin is her fortress. It is the huge harsh world with milling machines, cutters, boring mills; with enormously high ceilings and tons of metals – just like a factory floor. Only there is the warm little »room of factory’s director« with French window: to look to the big frozen lake and listen to her favorite compositions – which range from early music via Bach to Šostakovič. And also – there are the living persons whom she did out of metal.

The art of Blum is customary »arte povere«, in fact. She finds her material in the places where others are leaving the garbage: old steel pipes, lost street lamps, old bolts, skeletons of the metal grills … There are so many artists who use such materials. We should not think that the majority of them are dreaming about the piece of white marble to create smth... No, normally that’s the easiest way for them – to make puzzles out of the ready-made meanings (which already exist in the materials; it’s the fashionable sort of ›le prêt-à-porter‹ in the world of postmodern art). It became the main business of our art-time. Blum uses the same strategy – but for absolutely opposite aims. She just beats the enemy with his own weapon. (It is much more complicated – to create an image, a symbol on the »Tabula Rasa«, from zero and from nothing – like the God did and like Renaissance artistes did).

But Blum has nothing with such a »creative laziness«. Also she did not think about the high (marble) or low (garbage) price for the materials – or she thought about it in the last turn. She just loves to salve the people and the world, as we said before. And also she salves the real and simple old things which belong to this world. She gives life and heart to the lost and forgotten and rusty things.

As a great Russian poet said – »if you would know from such a garbage the rhythms are growing – no knowing the shame«. Now the artists are trying to grow the images from the garbage, everywhere it became the motto; and – ! – nothing grows. But Blum has »the green fingers«. All that she touches is becoming alive. The wall flourishes and the metal breathes – like in the Bible’ stories. She has a talent no to »install« the old parts (in order to make the bouquet of unconvincing associations) – but she sculpts from the old pieces of metal like from the molten loam of Adam. She does the hearts for her Metal Men like in the L.F. Baum’s fairy-tale about »Wizard of Oz« – because heart is already inside of the simple »thing« but it is forgotten and unknown.

Blum uses the old Zink (Cornett??) ell of technical pipe in the sculpture for the forgotten idea of art – to reset the joint of the world, like prince Hamlet said. Because our world is really abandoned: indeed, there are much less of the people than of their »things« in this world – if to compare, for example, to Medieval situation where man had only few necessary goods for himself. Now people are buried under the goods. Blum dislikes consumption and »goods« and »things«. But her struggle has nothing with extreme »green-peace« struggle for the clear planet against people. She cleans the world in other meaning – she »just« tries to destroy the previous consumption of things – in order to create the animated individuals from them.

She never makes the things out of things – she always creates the portraits of the human persons – and some of them are like the animals. From rear exceptions there is the »Disjoint Germany« (the time of the Berlin Wall): cut to two pieces old little car (the so called »Trabi«) which stays in the garden face to face with the lake. Ivy is growing through – like through the tomb. But even this work by Blum has the same matter: people. Her garden is like Forum Romanum because of the »persons’« quantity here. And if the word »anthologia« meant in Greece the »flower garden« – or »array of the patterns« – than we can say that Veronika’s Garden is a sort of anthology of the sculpt-characters: gloomy and pathetic, tragic and funny, timid and brave ones.

Serpentine »Lying« (the dream of the clerk about the slack day on the beach). Trusting and doomed bull’s head – from the old cycle’s saddle. Cantankerous girls – from the metal whisks. Wooden company of the plotters: just click the lighted – and they blaze up. Finally, her recent »Samurai«: not the gentle warrior from old Japanese etchings – but the Samurai of Kurosawa, real power and passion. He is made out of heavy metal semi-circles and you feel this weight of the sword, of the shoulders, of the rigid closes and thoughts; all the gravity of the »macho«-model of man (which Blum does not love so much).

She is too brave herself to love »macho«. She even would like to refuse from her »Metal Men« for the big projects. She did a model for the great »shadow« installation in the desert – the Tatlin-tower’s new version with the shadow of the holes-windows; steel mirage of the rest and water-spring – good metaphor of the art role in the nowadays life. She also plans to create her Camp-Gonon installation: big geometrical figures which she wants to see on the floating platforms somewhere in the sea where East is meeting the West. Camp-Gonon, that’s her neologism and her favorite figure, means connection of the circle and the triangle. And if the circle closed in itself means the East – than the resolute triangle of Aristotle’s syllogisms means West. The World made from the geometry that Blum is drawing resembles what Nicolaus of Cusa did. The sculptor is so much involved in the classical tradition of thinking in general. For example, her »Three heads« reminds »Three ages of man« by Tiziano (there are male’s heads and animals’ heads looking at the same time from the metal whisks in her work).

Blum never will sever her »Metal Men«. She is too human in her art – and she has too much love for the people in order to prefer abstract geometry. The artist will be always tempted to create somebody alive, »Goliath« or »David« – it does not matter.

With her created beings we consider Blum as one of the exceptionally sculptor of our days.

Daria Akimova (Abstract of the author’s artikel Veronika`s Garden, in: The World of Modern Art, Moscow, May 2008)

Veronika Blum – Montagen aus Metall

Veronika Blums Montagen bewegen sich zwischen Objektkunst und Installation, weniger geht es dabei um die Sichtbarmachung einer Idee als um Materialspiel und um Verwandlung. Die »Objekt-Collagen« sind aus teilweise vorfabrizierten, schon bearbeiteten Industrieprodukten oder -abfällen, aus Gegenständen des täglichen Bedarfs, aus Weggeworfenem und Überflüssigem, aus Unbrauchbarem und Abgenutztem, aus Desolatem und Gealtertem gefertigt.

Einst standen die Röhren und Drähte, die eisernen Stangen und Gussformen in einem anderen Funktions- und Sinnzusammenhang. Die Fundstücke in Abrisshäusern, und Industriedeponien gefunden und gesammelt, sind durch Veronika Blums Kombinationen verfremdet und ästhetisch erhöht. Die unterschiedlichen Materialien in einen neuen Formzusammenhang gebracht, in dem sie sich zuvor niemals befunden haben, sind in ihrer ursprünglichen Gestalt nur bedingt erkennbar geblieben. Die verwendete Vielfalt der Metalle und Legierungen, Eisen und Kupfer Bronze, Nickel und Messing, bringt Farbigkeit ins Spiel, als auch die Oxydations- und Rostungsprozesse einen großen Anteil haben.

Die Einzelteile ineinander gehängt, die Drähte als Linien verwendet, bilden Gerüste, sich streckende Stelenformen, die frei im Raum stehen. Schweres wirkt fragil, beinahe »entkernt«, Kompaktes erscheint von unerwarteter Leichtigkeit. In den Gebilden wird Transparenz mit Undurchlässigem, wird Schweres – Metall – mit Leichtem – Drähte – Röhren, Metallbänder – kombiniert. Die Objekte sind Raumdurchlässig und raumgreifend, unruhig und vielfältig. Sie verbinden Innen- und Außenraum wie ein lebender Organismus, sie öffnen sich und sprengen Begrenzungen. Aus der Wahl der gesammelten Teile und aus der Art und Weise ihrer Verteilung, ihrer Kombination und damit Verfremdung wächst der künstlerische Prozess.

Veronika Blums »Inszenierungen« durchbrechen den Rahmen und beim Umgehen und wechselnden Blickwinkeln entfalten sich visuelle Metamorphosen. Die Objekte entfalten Bewegung statt Statik und durch die Verknüpfung werden Abläufe geschaffen, d. h. alle Teilaspekte des Geamtaufbaus agierungen und lassen neue Bedeutungebenen entstehen, die oft eigenwillig geformt, tiefenräumich erfahrbar sind und Hierachien in Frage stellen. Erst beim umschreiten von allen Seiten entwickeln die Objekte ihre volle Wirkung, da unterschiedliche Durchblicke auch verschiedenartige Ausschnitte zur Folge haben, in die das Umfeld einbezogen ist.

Objekte wie Installationen im Frei- und im Innenraum existieren nicht losgelöst vom Betrachter und Standort, sondern die »Inszenierungen» beziehen beide mit ein.

Bei der Konstruktion der autonomen »Skulpturen« geht Veronika Blum vom einzelnen Teil, vom Gegenstand aus, ebenso, wie er bei der Installation vom bereits vorhanden Raum und von den vor Ort auffindbaren Materialien ausgeht. Auf diese Weise nähert sich das Objekt der Wand und öffnet sich zum Umraum, zerstört ihn nicht, so wie Installation den Raum oder die Natur dialogisch einbezieht.

Karin Müller, aus: Top-Magazin Berlin 1997, Ausgabe Nr. 12