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the new horde

To state essentials about their own time is and has always been a challenge for artists.
The forms of discussing themes and tendencies are as various as those offered by each
society. Almost every time artists, especially, succeed in detecting decisive developments
and accents, and transform them into paintings and metaphors. Since the early
20th century these artistic processes are inspired by freedom and individuality. These
are elements of societal forms that are able to draw out creative personalities based on
economic prosperity and peace. But in this case, peace doesn´t mean peaceful, but
rather, that from within peace and silence sometimes comes great force.
Bodo Korsig is an avant garde artist who wants to experience and interprete mankind
from his own borderlines. He wants to know what man can afford and how the principal
conditions of being human appear in such uncontrollable situations as force and fear.
These days modern synonyms like fearmongering, brutality and terror have replaced
humanistic paraphrases such as suffering and death. Murder, manslaughter and hate
do no longer belong to the arena of trivial concerns but are experiences everyone has
to consider. These worldwide valid living conditions are given an artistic form by artists
who express this in their paintings, as does Bodo Korsig.
Owing to a poem by Scardanelli, a book with 12 doublesided woodcuts found its origin.
Based on this very book Bodo Korsig developed his massive woodcuts on canvas from
1998 to 2001. This evolution and expansion of one series into another is a means of
crystallization of the total body of previous investigations by the artist. With this
method he compressed previous ideas into selected signs and – in an extremely large
format – into manifestations of his former artistic development. The collaboration
between Scardanelli and Korsig can be called a stroke of luck. The expressive speech of
Scardanelli – not explained epically, but melted down in a poem – and the restrained
vocabulary of forms by the artist melt into an extremely interesting discourse. By
combining text with graphics in his prints Korsig taps into a tradition which was already
in use in germany during the gothic area (14th century) and rose to an impressive means
of expression between the two world wars (1914 – 1945).
Woodcuts serve as a medium which is well suited for contrasting and expressive
language. Korsig’s woodcuts of larger dimensions were also hand made, using great
effort and a steam roller. Such methods are leading to a new quality of visual and
written language. Standing in front of the more than 2 meters high canvas, the observer
is confronted and caught by a monumental image. The message of a picture with a text
becomes unavoidable. This is reflected also by the direct second person voice, “ we „,
within the poem. “ we “ cannot keep a distance or stay away. It is no longer possible to
assume, that “ we “ weren’t aware, that we didn’t know anything of the epidemic, anything
regarding the exterminated animals, anything about “ cities exploded“
(Scardanelli). Some months ago I was certain that by “ the new horde “ Korsig was
referring to the neo-national socialist scene in Germany. My assumption was wrong. The
pictures and their wordings are expressively general, so that the interpretation is
depending on each observer and his personal feelings. And can change according to the
historical situation. Korsig is talking about every kind of horde willing to use force, i.e.
criminal and terrorist organizations, guerrillas or the violent potential in every human
being. What turns a man to an executioner, what is the nature of kamikaze terrorists,
what explains a “ normal soldier “ who becomes a mass murderer? What is waiting for
us in the future? Who are we expecting? Infected by terrifying visions everybody
participates in the spreading of fear.
Korsig does not want evaluation but the revealing of phenomenons and fantasies. About
pictures causing reactions, about latent feelings, associative moments and open
situations. Bold but not simple statements are planted. The artist is using colour and
graphic forms only very sparingly as medium. The resource of his forms can be the daily
context. Observances on the streets, in apartments, restaurants, etc are serving as
reach reserve of reflexes, shadows, colours, forms and compositions which are suitable
for artificial definition and to provoke the observer to see and to interpret. Visual
impressions are not freely transformed but are part of collective individual expressions.
Korsig’s works like „the new horde“are given strong impulses, catching the observer
and opening unconsious areas, to release him into an irritating freedom.
Gabriele Lohberg · Trier, 14. September 2001