Lovecells

by Robert Knafo

Bodo Korsig's sculptures catch you between things - between line and form, between drawing and object, between ostensibly incompatible esthetic principles, between "love" and "biology."  Out of a flat composite wood Korsig produces cellular and organic shapes that combine the serial regularity and reductionism of Minimalism with a febrile, brooding sensibility with ancestral links to German Expressionism. At once readable as drawing and three-dimensional sculpture, Korsig's objects keep you bouncing between the two distinct if inseparable registers: line/form/line/form/line/form.... Korsig's line jiggles and jangles; it registers as emotional, maybe nervous, or even neurotic. It is a controlled, active  - mindful -  line, but it is at the same time alloyed to a form seemingly possessed of an organic logic of its own. Korsig's usually wall mounted objects are, after all, organic forms - biological, cellular, molecular, schematic evocations of the kind of structures that exist at a level where osmosis and symbiosis are more than metaphors. These are familiar images; they're part of our GSA- our General Scientific Awareness.

What
is Korsig doing at this intersection, this complex of in-between states? Hes meditating on love. With a smile he calls love "a superpower", for the way he feels it rules us with absolute and reason-overriding authority. He has been consistently interested in the evocation of relationships: early in his career, in the mid and late eighties, Korsig made paintings and drawings that presented juxtaposed male and female figures in jagged, physically and psychologically disjointed states. His current work is about his ongoing fascination with the power of love, for both ill and good; but it avoids the face and the body, those classic, not to say clicheed, mirrors of emotion, romantic and otherwise. Korsig may be a tormented romantic, but he is also a materialist. Neurotic helplessness and fatalism aside, his sense of how things work, his we-are-our-bodies materialism, drive him to the register of the microscopic, the cellular, the biochemichal, the bits of jelly in the skull where the atavistic stirrings take hold and where the root of "love" must reside.  See for example, Metamorphoses (2003), a receptor-looking single cell branching out tortured tendrils

Born in East Germany in 1962, Korsig trained and worked as a stone-cutter in the eighties, moving to west Berlin when the Wall fell. His earliest sculptures reference artisanal tools that seem to relate to his training and work as a stone-cutter.  By the late nineties Korsig had evolved his current sculptural and graphic vocabulary, with its cellular-biochemical references. Dividing his time between New York and Europe, the 42-year-old Korsig does most of his work in his studio in Trier, Germany.

Sculptures, aside, Korsig makes wood-cuts, artisanal books, and other prints. The large-scale woodcut technique requires an extraordinary amount of pressure to print, hence the use of the steamroller as a press, which he regularly operates outside the studio.

The woodcuts on canvas and other prints are also stages for cells, tendrils, receptors, and vesicles. But in his printwork Korsig tends to let words and phrases also sprout, like so many accompanying label-slogans for the slide-flat and starkly black forms that populate its surfaces. These phrases are abject: My Soul is Dirty; Love Cancer; I Do Without; etc. The loaded words (no less than the loaded line)read like symptoms.  

New York 2004