Being in the sun – A friend of the sun
Being in the sun and conceiving of it as the central body of existence is what delineates my philosophical approach and implies a very personal relationship.
Even though scientific knowledge tells us that the earth revolves around the sun, it often seems as if the sun were moving around the earth. By consciously observing the sun, we approximate the center of the solar system and thereby slowly become able to distance ourselves from the ego-perspective. Our mind settles, helping us to see and act more consciously. We become aware and find cognition, contemplation and strength.
My particular concern is the state of being in the sun, i.e. having an active and positive relation to the sun. The word formation “philosolie”, meaning “amity with the sun” or “love of the sun” perfectly describes my tight connection to the sun and characterizes my philosophy.
My love of the truth/wisdom (philosophy, Greek) is simultaneously the love and amity of the sun.
Presentation and performance
The creation of my paintings stands in direct relationship to the processes of observation and reflection, which makes them intrinsically linked to the experience of nature and the flow of energy. Correspondingly, the paintings are preferably displayed in nature and at sunrise.Their presentation is a performance, as well as a celebration. The emblematized suns can be experienced right where inspiration comes about: outside, under rising sunlight. The presentation itself is a performance in the light of the sun.
Representation of the suns in the sun
My sun-paintings are generated by inspiration and the reception of the sun. The prevailing mood during the process of creation is meditative, and the symbol of the sun comes to life on canvas. My work is less about producing an accurate copy of the sun, than about capturing her symbolic and real energy, which are unleashed in me and on the canvas. This energy, these vibes are best to be perceived at sunrise – in nature.
Sunrise in particular started fascinating me from early on. While the whole world is still sound asleep, the sun slowly ascends the horizon and starts sending the first rays of the day down to the earth. This process is both gradual and magical. Many a thing gets clearer and brighter, and we easily find ourselves captivated by the moment. A positive atmosphere starts spreading – a luminous beginning.
It comes naturally to me that the presentation of my suns is most effective at sunrise and in specifically selected surroundings.
Every step of the process, from the first spark of an idea up until the exposition, is inseparably linked to the sun. The symbol arises from and connects to the original, in a way.
The presentation is more than just that – it is a performance. My suns are very consciously put in scene at specifically chosen backdrops. Rather than just being there, being static or lifeless, they interact with their surrounding nature and change within given settings. Hence, their exhibition parallels a form of theatrical ritual, a performance.
This way of presentation furthermore always develops into a very unique experience for the viewers, who usually find themselves captured by the atmosphere and the overall concept.
Questions you always wanted to ask but never dared to:
How did you get down to do arts?
I have always approached the world in a very creative and fanciful way. There was always some sort of intuitive, instinctive aspect in all I thought or did. I realized this when playing football as a little child, for instance: it was the first time I learned to follow my intuition or good feeling.
However, I gained direct access to the realm of art only much later, when I was firmly established in a very conventional professional life and was leading international projects of my forwarding company. That was when I first came into contact with philosophy and art increasingly, yet in a rather passive way. I started spending my leisure time in artistic environments and explored the world through traveling, working projects and various courses of studies abroad. This is how I gained insight into different cultures and religions and started engaging with them, which also influenced my artistic work and philosophy.
When did you start painting actively?
I first picked up the brush and tried to project my impressions onto the canvas towards the end of the 1990s. This manual work helped me settle my mind. Thus, my mere thoughts finally turned into a material experiment.
From 2007 onwards I started concentrating on my art to a greater extent, and the first exhibitions soon followed.
The central theme of your paintings is the sun and its representation – how did this come about?
The sun has always played a central role my life and certainly has had artistic potential long before I actually accessed it. At this point I would like to tell a very “brightening” story:
In the midst of a creative crisis, when I was asking myself whether I should keep painting or not, I was handed an old photograph of me at one of my elementary school get-togethers. The photo showed me as a young boy at a theater performance at school, where I played the role of the sun. This moment was such enlightenment. I was the sun! The sun really is my steady companion.
What meaning do the sun and sunrises in general bear for you personally?
I am in a very close relationship with the sun she is my personal metaphor for energy and life. Sunbathing, for instance, is indispensable for me. I do it (almost) every day, and also in winter. I need sun energy both in a figurative and in a real sense. In my youthful days I once experienced sunrise on a hill in the course of an excursion with my fellow students. There is a ritual is called “green ray” (from ancient Egyptian mythology). It is a particularly green flash that appears at the beginning of spring and is said to bring life – the first light of the day in spring is a metaphor for the fertility and vitality of our world. This experience fascinated and influenced me to such a great extent that especially these sunrises now have become a very central element in my work.
Does sunrise also have a philosophical meaning for you?
Generally speaking, the word “sunrise” refers to a human observer’s perspective – and thus our geocentric world-view. As a matter of fact, however, the sun does not rise, but it is the observer’s position which turns towards the sun with the rotation of the earth. It is easy to forget sometimes that it is actually us who turn around the sun, and not vice versa. Our egocentrism leads us astray; it deceives us into thinking that we are at the center of the world.
In the end, however, everything is a matter of perspective, and many existential questions are raised. So yes, even philosophically this phenomenon has great value in my art.
Why do you make use of an ostrich egg to apply the paint?
I have always loved to experiment, especially with regards to material, styles and technique. On a journey to South Africa I found an ostrich egg and simply decided to try using it to apply the paint. I found it to be very suitable for this practice, and it has become one of my fixed utensils for painting ever since. Apart from the very practical purpose, the ostrich egg bears symbolic meaning for me and triggers old memories.