You may ask why I use motifs from Asian countries while everybody seems to think that only cheap stuff and all sorts of illegal copies do flood the markets in the Western hemisphere. While anybody seems to be afraid of being overwhelmed by low quality goods and art from China and other Asian countries why did I chose subjects for my wood carving which obviously do not belong to my own personal upbringing and history. That’s at least a question a friend of mine asked me while ago.

The answer was that a direct consequence of my travels to Asia was the love for the Arts and the wish to change my life entirely and do finally what I was meant to do.

Doesn’t it often happen that an unusual experience, something extraordinary you stumble upon, brings a complete change in your life? Things generally do not happen by accident – they rather have a certain time schedule and scheme and thus a deeper meaning when they happen. Sometimes we understand and get to know a little later about the “why” and the deeper meaning and sometimes we have no explanation at all and we are irritated and lost.

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The only thing you can do is accept and react accordingly. Grab chances when they appear. Don’t hold on to the past when the future is smiling friendly at you. Even if it does not and is rather menacing and makes you afraid it is better to take all your courage and accept changes when they are inevitable. So it happened and continues to happen.

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I really cannot say why I suddenly developed such a high interest for Asian cultures and art. But I know that my travels openened my eyes for cultures which were thousands of years old.

While Europe was lost in mud and epidemic illnesses, in ignorance and poverty during the medieval era, in China, India and the other southeast Asian countries such as Siam (Thailand) and Myanmar (Burma) cultures thrived which were highly developed. They left a heritage to humankind that is amazing and cannot be compared with the remnants we find today.

The art that has been created by innumerable unknown artists of the past became the inspiration of my humble work of today. I was completely overwhelmed when I saw for the first time what they had created many centuries ago. If I think about the tools they had and what we have available today my admiration even increases.

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There is no doubt that the motivation of the ancient artists was a different one from mine. Theirs was to glorify and adorn their gods and beliefs. Mine only to create something beautiful for the eye. But maybe it can also be seen as an hommage to the power and inspiration of a human mind that can invent and create more than weapons of mass destruction.

Europe also has a rich cultural heritage of course. The sacred art of the early romanic and gothic era, the murals and frescos of the 15th and 16th century were breathtaking. But it was also heavy, not for profane “use”. It missed the lightness and grace of Chinese carving, bronces, painting and all sorts of crafts.

Additionally isn’t is always the exotic, the different that fascinates us most? Our nature is curiosity, to learn, to investigate the unknown. It is a journey into the new.

What I want to say with all this is that we should avoid putting the stamp of prejudice on everything we see and do not really know. Easily we name anything although it might be completely different from what we thought. Judgeing the likes and dislikes is done too quickly before we give it time to really understand.

Funnily many people feel attracted by Buddhist presentations and images although I doubt that most of them really know or care for what Buddhism is all about. But that may not be important. More important is the aura of Buddhist images. No matter which cultures they derive from, they emanate harmony and calmness, peace and eternal balance, beauty and purity. This is what people feel in their presence and what they want to be near to. Something that modern times apparently cannot supply us with.

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It’s time for the second part of this story about the Bodhisattwa polyptych or paravent. I want to show you the details of this work so that you can clearly see how filigrane the work is. Please don’t forget to click on the images – they are much larger than you can see here.

This polyptych can be used as a paravent of course, meant to close off part of a room. But it can be used as a wall basrelief also and mounted on a wall which might be recommendable just for security reasons. The fragile work will break easily if it topples over to the floor.

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I can confirm that this piece of artwork does change the aura of a room and interiror designers may pay attention to this jewel. It’s not that I want to praise myself here but I am simply proud of this work and I think you can see this.

Imagine – this is not made from illegally cut tropical wood which people unfortunately continue to boast of and which makes me really sick because the rainforests of this planet are the precious heritage of all mankind. No – it is made from regular, damn common pine wood boards which are grown as a renewable resource. The magnificent and precious tropical woods are not.

This piece of artwork proves that you can transform common material into something precious and exotic and very special and beautiful also. It takes a lot of work and patience to do this and quite a big portion of commitment because it is not a quick task to finish this work. But you can see it is doable. I love doing this kind of work. It gives you a lot of satisfaction and happiness.

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Additionally this artwork will never experience any cracks due to climate changes, heat or dryness of a room. Objects made from tropical woods will sooner or later have cracks in our northern climates which is really not the nicest thing to happen to an expensive piece of furniture nor art. The common argument of vendors that this would be normal is not acceptable in my opinion.

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The entire work is an original design. It began with detailed drawings which were transferred to the wood. The open wood work was sawn with an electric handsaw. After that the motifs were handcarved.

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Each of the panels is one piece of wooden board. Only the thin frame was added when the whole sawing and carving work was done. The frame was added as a kind of stabiliser to the fragile carving work and as means to connect the panels with hinges. These hinges are door hinges not the regular hinges that are used for paravents. The latter were too plump for this kind of work – so I used door hinges. Thus all the panels can be separated from each other and used as separate decoration pieces if needed. Due to the three separate feet the 3 middle panels can stand freely on their own.

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(will be continued…)

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I’d like to show you some more of my wood carvings. Although I am currently mainly painting and not carving the work on wood has helped me tremendously to develop my painting style of today. Sounds funny? No – because if you work on sculptures and other 3-dimensional objects you learn to see in different directions. You get a feeling for detail. I love working on details because they are the essentials which a make a piece of work interesting and adventurous. The viewer has to discover things otherwise s/he will get bored. This would be the death of an artwork.

There are many different possibilities to attract the viewer. Sometimes it is an interesting texture or pattern, sometimes it’s the colour that changes depending on the light, sometimes it is the story told and sometimes it is an unusual composition of opposing objects and forms etc.

My wood carvings are opulent and a wild feast of forms and ornaments, something that the viewer is supposed to discover by viewing its details and touching it. Yes – touching. It is a wonderful feeling to run fingers over a smooth piece of wood which is warm and full of round forms. It is nearly like an erotic feeling. Don’t laugh but did you ever touch an old wooden entrance door, one of those which are heavily carved with really big brass knuckles? It is a wonderful feeling. And aren’t senses involved when the subject is art? No art comes to life without the senses…

But back to the work. Now how does this look like?


“Bodhisattwa”
77″ x 69″ x 10″, 30 kg

This is only the representational photo but I am going to show you the details and how it was created. You will be astonished when you hear that this polyptych once was several simple pine wood boards, meticulously chosen for their grain but nevertheless simple boards.

Inspiration came from the figures of the Thai/Indian mythology which are strongly affiliated to the legends of the Buddhism. The vivid tales of the southeast Asian countries, which are presented with so many human characteristics, virtues and sins, are reminiscent of the fairy tales of our western childhood. Nevertheless they are different. Our fairy tales have an end with our childhood but the legends you learn about in the Ramayana, in the Mahabharata or in the epic Ramakien have become part of the Hindu and/or Buddhist belief (and superstition). They are much more than a simple fairy tale, they have become a kind of guideline for the daily life. Even today. Especially when it is about preserving the virtues of man and woman.

Part of this scenario of a world full of gods and goddesses is an ornamental design that reflects a stylized but opulent “growing” flora which is so typical for tropical regions. But this is only one of the attractions westerners from northern countries feel for the warmer parts of the world.

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Maybe it is more than the exotic aura that people feel attracted to – it is often the longing for a joy of life that northern people miss in daily life due to lack of sunlight. During long winter months when the days are only grey and dull, when the cold creeps into your bones you are dying for a little sunlight. The tropical regions of this planet promise to deliver this in abundance and seem to be the paradise for this reason…

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So the conclusion is not only to travel to the countries of paradisaical promises but also to surround oneself with those things which are reminiscent of happy times and a good feeling.

And maybe the appropriate artwork helps to remember a different lifestyle, a different attitude to see things and to get rid of the narrow viewpoints of a western life full of pressure and hectic. Even if it gives you only a little time-out of your daily life, a few moments of relaxation and day dreaming…
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(continued…)

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