Speech on the occasion of the exhibition of works by Stefan Laug in the Staatlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart (National Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, Germany) November 4th, 1991.
Professor Sotirios Michou
National Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, Germany
Ladies and gentlemen !
A spiritual object, that means a significant object, is significant particularly because it points beyond itself, because it is expression and exponent of a spiritual-general, of an entire emotional world and way of thinking which finds in it, the object, a more or less complete symbol, thereby defining the degree of its importance.
- Quotation from Der Zauberberg by Thomas Mann -
Another quotation, this time from the Middle Ages:
The picture as a symbol:
Why is symbol-picture-art - everybody may ask - still today beyond other art carried upwards by praise ? I name it - there the spirit plays in odd circles, so witty, where I have never found it elsewhere.
AMAH THU - The Heart of Matter
An introduction into the work of Stefan Laug must of course start with some basic thesises of his philosophy which I will formulate as follows:
Man came into being and lives ever since in and with original sounds and original pictures.
Man came into being with and by archetypes.
Such original sounds, original pictures and archetypes have been participating in the formation of the world and the coming into being of Man, as just mentioned. They all are more or less present for us, but generally do not surface until spiritually moved times.
At the field of gravity between the eternal change of all things on one hand and the unchangeable archetypes on the other hand, historical development is formed.
In this historical development the mentioned polarities, the eternal change of all things and the unchangeable archetypes, are fused to shape.
This shape many times made the reflection of eternal constants its content.
History, science and art, but also music dance and language as well as painting, sculpture and architecture are formed by Man to an environment, integrated into one whole. By integrated I mean the procedure and by whole I mean the result.
This whole points towards the country of origin, where the unity of nature in its not yet splitted character existed. There, in that country of origin, Man existed as an archetype with archetypes unified in the shape of inspired organisations of matter, created on the basis of the law of the Golden Section.
AMAH THU - the title of this exhibition is AMAH, a word consisting of four letters meaning upwards or rising. THU - a word consisting of three letters signalising on the other hand the horizon which, as is known, one can see as soon as one has risen.
AMAH THU - in conclusively correct order with 4 + 3 = 7 letters like the myth of the creation of the world. 4 is the square and the four directions and the path of the light, the sun, 3 is the Principle of the rotation, the circle.
Here 1 would like to quote a three liner by Pier Paolo Pasolini:
She belongs to us again. Who ?
The sun, which eternally circulates with the water.
For most of the religions of the world, which once cultivated, kept and transmitted the knowledge of time - the science - the number 7 was of fundamental importance.
The number 7 is also 5 + 2, 5 for the Golden Section and the pentagram, the hand, 2 for the duality, and thus the beginning of all things.
In the centre of this exhibition rests a softly vaulted object made of linden-tree wood, gold-plated.
Its measure, length and width correspond with the Golden-Section --
The Heart of Matter, the second title of the exhibition, the heart of matter with its two centres of the ellipse corresponds to the duality.
The duality means the dual original mother matter - bright to dark, life to death, white or gold to black.
The following sentence by the Emperor of China converges into this object:
In the centre of all things I live, the son of the sky.
My wives, my trees, my animals, my ponds, all enclose the first wall.
That, what was in the past, is in the present and will be in the future, is all unified by this object at one place, in which life vibrates and time is not measured.
Rectangle and ellipse create the original focal point of action, where microcosm and macrocosm fuse into one.
The works of Stefan Laug are built of an abundance of terms and signs and their equivalent in objects, language, sounds, colours and movements. They evocate the country of origin, where man lived as archetype unified with archetypes The contents of his works are mediated by paintings, drawings, objects, installations and sounds in form of the initiation-performance.
It seems, that "original picture and change" in the present concept strive towards a specific constant of time of converging character.
This constant of time enables us to meet at the vibrating place of harmony. The Greeks discerned this vibration as movement of matter, as moved structure.
Music, dance, language, sculpture, architecture and science in the form of man shaped-created environment is formed.
Dear listeners, the materials chosen for this exhibition and their way they are used is not merely arbitrary, but a precisely calculated result of a process of spiritualization or realisation, if you prefer so.
The white colour is spirit and food - in this case wheat flour the other colours are soils, collected by Stefan Laug himself at different locations of Europe. The wood has grown representing growing nature. The gold, the most precious in the family of metals unifies light and eternity and represents the Golden Age.
Therefore the works in this exhibition show the meeting of light and matter in a possibly simple form, as light-epiphany and light-diaphany.
This exhibition, like all the previous exhibitions by Stefan Laug has an iconographical character. It stands besides all art-trends of this time and therefore takes a special place in the discourse of "arguments with reality".
For those, who kept on listening to me so far, I would like to give a meditation exercise from ZEN, a KOAN:
If you extinguish sense and sound, what can you hear then.