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The Artist's Work

Use of Non-conventional Materials

Bernd Wehner’s artistry is characterized by his innovative use of non-conventional materials, creating contemporary and abstract sculptures that challenge traditional notions of art. He deliberately avoids conventional materials like marble and bronze, opting instead for substances like lead, bitumen, iron oxide, and glue. Even carton is not used as a mere canvas but as a construction material, akin to the Arte Povera movement, reflecting Wehner’s conscious decision to reject readily available materials.

His choice of materials—lead, carton, bitumen—imbues his work with an aura and inner force, requiring minimal intervention to be declared art. While lead has been associated with artists like Anselm Kiefer and Richard Serra, who explore the possibilities of heavy and toxic materials, Wehner carves out a uniquely different path.

 

Wehner’s works are also statements about materials. He rejects smoothness, slickness, and glamour, finding them antithetical to his artistic vision. Yet, he does not surrender the surface of his art pieces to chance. The rawness and traces of past utilization receive the artist’s meticulous attention, bringing his sculptures to life.

By choosing these unobtrusive and unconventional mediums, Wehner redefines the boundaries of contemporary art. His work transcends the ordinary, inviting viewers to look beyond the surface and discover hidden dimensions of reality. His creations resonate with the profound truth that our only security is our ability to change, capturing the delicate balance between chaos and order, fragility and strength.

Bernd Wehner’s art expresses the enduring human capacity for renewal, continuously transforming the mundane into the extraordinary.

Heaviness and Lightness

Heaviness turns out to be lightweight. The 'heaviness' deceives the viewer; it is not real. Is this already a clue, a critique of the world as we superficially see it? A comprehensive perception would reflect the lightness, but not the proverbial lightness of being. Rather, it suggests that in the end, much of what seems heavy is actually lightweight—in art and in life.

Bernd Wehner’s work explores this duality, challenging our perceptions and inviting us to look beyond the surface. His art reveals that what appears burdensome may, upon closer inspection, be insubstantial. This theme runs through his sculptures and installations, where the deceptive heaviness of materials like lead and bitumen transforms into an unexpected lightness.

Wehner’s ability to manipulate the perception of weight and substance is not just a technical achievement but a philosophical statement. His work encourages viewers to reconsider their assumptions and discover the hidden dimensions of reality. In doing so, he underscores a profound truth: that both in art and in life, heaviness often conceals an inherent lightness.

Making Art Visible

Bernd Wehner's art aims to make the invisible visible. His over-sized columns of lead, with carton cores, evoke an archaic presence. They appear as if originating from another era, growing tall like ancient fossils or the lead coatings of primeval plants. Could they be artifacts of early hominids, or were they perhaps intended for cultic activities?

The meaning behind these works is left to the viewer’s imagination. Wehner offers no hints, leaving us with our own thoughts and concerns. He succeeds in initiating an afterthought that points to the fundamental aspects of existence. In the spirit of Paul Klee’s definition that it’s not the visible that is being rendered, Wehner’s work encapsulates the essence of making art visible.

Wehner's sculptures challenge us to see beyond the surface, encouraging a deeper reflection on the nature of reality and our perceptions. His work transcends the ordinary, transforming the mundane into the extraordinary, and invites viewers to engage with art on a profound level.

Modern Influences and Timeless Relevance

In the 21st century, Bernd Wehner’s work resonates with familiar reference points. As a child of the 20th century, his art offers various waymarks that anchor it within the broader context of modernity. Reflecting on the era of Cubism, which significantly shaped contemporary art, Wehner’s creations would seamlessly fit alongside these milestones, affirming their correctness and importance over a century later. The disassembling of form as a process and the rough composition that balances rejection and attraction are hallmarks of his approach.

Wehner's work also evokes connections to the great collages of Kurt Schwitters. Unlike the rational forms of speech that are difficult to analyze, Wehner’s art captivates in an overpowering yet comprehensible manner. His finely balanced constructions and aesthetic use of materials create a profound impact, intentionally eschewing excess.

The artist's approach is not about 'forcing through mass.' Instead, he relies on the inherent power of the materials he meticulously selects and shapes. This deliberate focus and restraint highlight the raw beauty and transformative potential of his chosen mediums.

Bernd Wehner’s art, with its nuanced constructions and thoughtful use of non-conventional materials, continues to make a significant impact. It serves as a testament to the enduring influence of contemporary art, inviting viewers to engage deeply and reflect on the hidden dimensions of reality.

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