The apparent contradictions in the work of Bodo Korsig betray an eloquent (if unconscious) striving to create something whole from an apparently fragment world. In a show last spring entitled FATE, this artist from the former East Germany presented large scale woodcuts from his atelier in Trier, Germany, and a series of small encaustic paintings created in the New York studio of master printer Garner Tullis. These prints and paintings, often preparatory to Korsig‘s sculptures, show imagery that reflects his sense of the disconnected nature of the relationship between objects and beings in the world. Simple, black outlines floating in a field of memory, grasping at the detritus of everyday life, and stylized human figures isolated from one another in pictorial space. The heavy blocks of color that compose Korsig‘s woodcuts coexist with delicately delineated forms suggesting tendrils of flora, synaptic connections, or the abstracted outlines of the human figure. In the woodcut Yola, Korsig creates a triptych in which three black triangular forms with spherical heads are set into a blue central panel. Looping up around each figure is a single black tear – shaped band that hovers over each head like a halo, or even a vine that has sprouted from the body in an effort to connect with its neighboring elements. These halos further lend movement to the figures-which appear to be shivering or dancing. In some instances, as in his Head series from 1997, Korsig has methodically cut away small grooves in a block some 53×78 in. in size, obliterating the wood’s natural grain. The result of the artist’s labor is a roughly textured surface that appeared to have been violated by the very act of creation. In the smaller encaustics, layers of color and hot wax have been scratched through to achieve a more subtle effect suggesting both depth and transparency. Whether it is created with wood blocks, hot wax, or large slabs of metal, Korsig’s imagery remains elusive and yet seductively personal. In his effort to introduce harmony where there is none and bring discordance to serenity, he often employs techniques that require the destruction of one element so that another may emerge, a process that serves to highlight his innate sense of aesthetic elegance and coherence.
2000 Heidi Fichtner, Art on Paper