By Eve Wood
Bodo Korsig has a “visual opinion” on just about everything, yet despite the strength of his convictions, he is a true master of the understated gesture, weighing in equally on the miraculous as well as the mundane. Korsig’s mixed media sculptures made from polished chrome steel, wood and colored paper would be considered “objects of desire” by most who encounter them, yet to dismiss them as such would be to do them a profound disservice as each represents a system of complex ideas and possibilities; Many of these sculptures derive from a distinctive, consumerist image, i.e. the baby pacifier, spiky and riddled with holes, thereby defeating its purpose, and the chromed image of a human brain, riddled with its own synaptic potholes, recesses, canyons and valleys. Life is, after all, nonlinear and Korsig understands that the human brain exists beautifully, and in many cases ecstatically, within this “all-too-pitted” non-linearity, as do many of the objects that fill our daily lives. Life as we know it is predicated on ambiguity and the inscrutability of the unknown despite our attempts to control all that we see around us.
Every element that comprises these works is considered and thought out precisely and with great care. Even the titles Korsig assigns to his pieces are reflective of a conscientious sensibility. Works like “Greedy,” made from mirrored chrome steel in the shape of an octopus are deceptively disarming as Korsig is obviously drawing a correlation between our own human image reflected back at us in the mirrored glass, versus our “humanity” which is so often thrown over in favor of a greater need to possess something beyond ourselves, i.e. greed. The octopus’ outstretched arms imply the voracious consumption of everything around it, yet its shape remains lithe and elegantly pleasing, itself an object of complexity and beauty, making this piece all the more ironic given its deeper meaning.
Other sculptures appear denser and more complicated in terms of their narrative associations. “Hidden Mind,” for example is not a recognizable shape per se, but exists as an amorphous form, much like a mutant amoeba come forth from the sea. Made from black chromed steel, the inside of which is painted red, this piece in particular attests to a fiercely idiosyncratic method of perception wherein the object stands, not so much for a particular idea, but as a symbol of a larger compendium of thoughts and trajectories. The shape is not immediately recognizable, but seems to have sprung fully formed from the artist’s imagination, though its shape alludes to some sort of mechanization, the systemization of the human brain itself, or the microcosm of a cell exposed and dissected publically on the gallery wall. Holes, fragments, dissections and any number of “visual interruptions” can be found here, and though the forms allude to a specific organic organization of form, the work’s deeper metaphoric content exists within “interrupted space,” i.e. the pauses, the fractured fissures and gaps within each sculpture.
Still other works like “You Are Me,” suggest the union of two human bodies seemingly floating through space and time in a strangely acrobatic conjunction, though once again the tell-tale holes break up the literal activated space within the bodies themselves. This work in particular seems to be more about transformation through shape and movement, as both “bodies” relinquish themselves to the other, conjoined finally to create yet another compelling shape altogether. This work presupposes an evolution of time, as the bodies were once singular units of energy, transformed to become a single, unified, unequivocal figure. Korsig’s images of pacifiers, whether large scale or actual size, evoke their own narratives and speak directly to the disjunction between form and content. The subject of this work is not so much the function of the object, but the metaphoric meaning inherent within it – that the pacifier is an example of modern iconography representing infancy, an artificial soothing object that stands as a symbol of “forcible calm.” We calm ourselves artificially all the time, and the pacifier represents probably the first in a line-up of manufactured devices designed to quell our all-too-human condition. As an object, the pacifier affords a strange kind of deception, a means of distraction, itself an unreliable receptacle of memory. By creating an oversized image of the pacifier, Korsig does not specifically advocate for lost or forgotten memories, the slow and quiet slippage into nostalgia, but instead calls into question the efficacy of memory as the unreliable tool by which we construct and deconstruct our lives.
Such human paraphernalia, along with other more unique, organic shapes, make for a complicated textured versatility, which allows Korsig the opportunity to investigate a deeper more fluid investment in form. Whether or not these objects are recognizable to us as viewers has little or no bearing on their meaning since their “truest meaning” is non linear, and ultimately irrational. Finally, Korsig alludes to a cohesiveness between the literal formal elements of the sculptures themselves and the more sublime sub textual meanings inherent within each work, creating a strangely compelling non-linearity that seems somehow to make sense on several levels simultaneously.