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: „womens-sculptor“. She is just The Sculptor.
Her studio near Berlin is her fortress. It is the huge harsh world with milling machines, cutters, drilling mills; with enormously high ceilings and tons of metals – just like a factory floor. Only there is the warm little „room and 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 Schostakowitsch. 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 the 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 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 dislike 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 in 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 world „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 girl – from the metal whisks. Wooden company of the plotters: just click the lights – 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-cycles 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 men (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 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.
The World of Modern Art, Moscow, May 2008