PROLOGUE | PERSONAL
Bodo, where do we talk together, where do we meet you? We sit in my light-flooded studio with skylights and a room height of 6 metres, directly on the Moselle. Maybe we are sitting at your favorite place? My absolute favourite place is my old couch in the studio. I often sit here with friends and drink wine. Where do you come from, where were you born, when? I was born on 24.03.1962 in Zwickau. How and where do you currently live and work? I have been commuting between Trier and NY since 1995, although my stays in NY are becoming less and less frequent. I have found my centre in Trier. Which stations and people have shaped you? Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, I decided to live in London. A bold plan. It failed miserably at first. In 1992 I decided to move to NY, and in 1995 the time had come. The city blew me away, and so did the people there. The generosity, openness and friendliness of the people in America, especially in the art scene. You have to experience something like that to believe it. Everything was possible and I found myself in the middle of it. Was welcomed with open arms. Through Garner Tullis, who was indeed a legend in NY at the time, I suddenly had contact with great artists such as Robert Ryman, Sean Scully, Catherine Lee. Even curators, writers and musicians. That inspired and spurred me on. Countless people and work stays later in America, eventually even in Asia and Africa, have shaped my life and made me who I am today. To list everything would go beyond the scope of this article.
Bodo Korsig, Portrait
Which writers do you currently find exciting and which books are on your bookshelf? My shelves are packed with books. Books are extremely important to me. I’ve worked with over 40 writers on artist’s books and videos, including Paul Auster, John Ashbery, Akira Tatehata and Peter Wawerzinek, which I find super exciting. Which books have influenced or shaped you? Incredibly many! Two books by Max Frisch were particularly influential: “Mein Name sei Gantenbein” and “Stiller”, which I read as a teenager. What are you currently reading and where do you keep the book? On my desk right now is Catherina Rust: The Girl from the Amazon. It touches me very much, because I had encounters with indigenous people in the Brazilian rainforest myself that left their mark on me. What music do you listen to and when? In the studio I like to listen to minimalist electronic music by Philipp Glass, Arvo Part or Steve Reich, among others. If you would cook something for us, what would it be? Actually, I am passionate about good food and I leave a lot of money in restaurants. But personally, I don’t enjoy cooking very much. I’m too impatient for that. Above all, it has to be quick, so it’s just salad and a pasta with porcini mushrooms.
Bodo Korsig in front of his work (no)roots, 2019, Filz, ø 4 Meter
What do you like to eat most? Sashimi What do you think about breakfast? For me it’s just a cappuccino and a fruit salad, that has to be enough. What kind of sport or counterbalance to your work do you practice? Wing Chun, a martial art from Asia that I like very much. Do you have special passions (hobbies) for which you are burning, and if so, which ones? For the past 30 years, whenever I have the opportunity, I have mainly gone diving in Asia. I love this paradisiacal state under water, this calm, the floating in the element, the colours, the shaping of the corals and animals. And of course the adrenaline rush of cave diving. What personality trait defines you? Inwardly, I am an adrenaline junkie. Otherwise, and especially outwardly, I am usually balanced and calm, but unfortunately I am and remain a bit impatient most of the time. Do you have a concern that you would like to share with us or a question (not asked) that you would like to answer? No, none at the moment, maybe I can think of something else.
Bodo Korsig in his Studio
INTERVIEW | ARTIST + POSITION
To begin, please tell us about your artistic vita in a few sentences.
After my studies, I was drawn to the world. Fortunately, I received numerous prizes and scholarships. This encouraged me to do what I wanted. First and foremost, I worked on large-format woodcuts and monotypes that I printed with the help of a road roller.
For over 20 years I have been increasingly involved with spatial installations, objects and video art.
But what most people don’t know is that book art is also an important part of my artistic work. I have realised important book projects together with Paul Auster from NY, Akira Tatehata from Tokyo, Zao Zhang from Beijing, Scardanelli from Berlin and many others. The books were written on a predefined current topic. The condition was always that the text had not yet been published by the author – and that it was a reflection of contemporary history.
For each book, a different, elaborate and very individual book form was developed. These books were mostly created on site, together with the respective poet, who handwrote the texts according to my artistic ideas.
Bodo Korsig, MAGNOLIA, 2008, handwritten text by Zao Zhang, Acrylic painting on wood, 80 x 80 x 980 cm, Unique Chinese/German
There have also been countless collaborations with musicians, dancers and theatre productions.
Museum exhibitions followed, among others at the Leonardimuseum in Dresden (Germany), Fukumitsu Art Museum, (Japan), Smart Museum of Art Chicaco (USA), Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, (Germany), as well as at the ZKM Karlsruhe (Germany).
Erläutern Sie uns kurz Ihr aktuelles Projekt bzw. die kommende Ausstellung.
Next week at the Dakar Biennale, I will be presenting a three-part video installation. It is called “Arrival” and it is a silent indictment of humanity, with beautiful images that confront, above all, our mendacious environmental policies. In this video, the poetry of the Berlin writer Scardanelli is spoken by the Munich opera singer Bonko Karadjov, and the sound comes from the Frankfurt composer Julia Mihaly.
What are you currently most concerned about; what is on your mind?
I am angry about the brutal greed for power and corruption of some companies and politicians. And about how we all stand by and watch.
Bodo Korsig in his Atelier
How did you come to art? Why art?
It was my way of expressing myself and what moves me. There was no alternative for me.
What makes you happy at the moment?
The most recent successful and completed work of art is a distinct feeling of happiness, but unfortunately it is short-lived. Apart from that, I am water-addicted. I love the water. Whether I’m by, in or on the water, I lose myself in and around water and recharge my happiness hormones there.
What is currently scaring you?
The ignorance and greed of people, especially the way they deal with our world’s resources and these completely senseless wars.
„lost in paradise“, 2022, Exhibition view, Galerie Schmalfuss Berlin
Do you believe that art has a social responsibility? And what do you think it can do?
Absolutely! Art gives us artists the opportunity to hold up a mirror to the viewer. Through this medium, I can reach the viewer in the best case and sometimes even shake him up.
What makes your art special? What is it about – what are the central themes of your work?
A basic feature or rather a basic characteristic of my work is the deconstruction of motifs, themes and things into symbols; into an abstracted world of forms.
I reduce my artistic work to the essential. In doing so, I alienate reality. Through optical changes, I cross the line of the usual, the adapted, the customary, in order to leave the viewer a scope of inspiration.
Read Bodo Korsig´s answer about his work further in THE DEED | DAS WERK.
Bodo Korsig in his Atelier
How do you protect yourself from too much inspiration these days?
Through complete isolation.
How much in your works is planned beforehand – how much is created intuitively?
When I’m in my studio, the works are actually already finished in my head.
What are your (next) goals?
I present a video installation at the Dakar Biennale, followed by exhibition projects in Slovenia, Austria and Latvia.
„window of the mind“, 2018, Felt, je 130 x 150 cm
What is your opinion about faith? Do you have principles of faith or is there a motto?
I am not a believer, my religion is my inner self. I listen to that and it guides me. But that also means that if I am unsatisfied with myself, only I can change something. I always try to be fair, friendly and open to my fellow human beings, and most of the time, without expecting it, I get the same in return.
Which project would you still like to realize, if lack of time, courage or financial resources would not play a role?
A feature film!
What do you consider to be attributes of good art?
If the work touches me and maybe even changes me.
Bodo Korsig in his Atelier
Is one born as an artist? Or is studying art compulsory in your view?
An art degree is definitely helpful and makes a lot of things easier in the beginning.
To whom do you show a new work first?
No one for a long time.
What does the first hour of your day look like?
Cappuccino + fruit salad + reading
To Define is to Limit 2019, Felt , 250 x 160 cm (right), no)roots, 2019, Diameter 4 Meter, Felt (left)
In times of the internet of things, are galleries still necessary? If so, why and what for?
You can’t do it without galleries, it’s a kind of symbiosis. We artists need the galleries and of course the gallery owners need the artists.
Social media – a blessing or a curse?
An interesting platform to share the latest exhibition projects or works with a globally interested audience.
EPILOGUE | CURRENT
The exhibition lost in paradise with objects, drawings and installations by Bodo Korsig can be seen from 23. April to 21. May 2022 at GALERIE SCHMALFUSS BERLIN, Knesebeckstraße 96, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg.
Furthermore, his work “no excuses” will be presented at CSR CONTEMPORARY SHOW ROOM, Friedrichstraße 69, 10117 Berlin-Mitte from 25. April to 21. May 2022.
The written interview is an important medium to introduce artists, to spread their messages and to get in touch with art lovers. The interviews are not edited or shortened by our editorial team and are always reproduced in original sound. Therefore, we do not translate the interview into English or German, unless the interviewee submits a translation or we are entrusted with the translation, as is the case here.
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