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Universal creations


THE GENEROUS deposits of colours in German artist Sabine Swoboda's works are residues of her many visits to Rajasthan, a State that has enamoured her by its rich textures and hues. In faltering English she explains, "I have become a stronger, more resolute person."

India has added a compelling visual allegory to her repertoire of symbols, which now find their way into her art. Sabine loves the earthen pots, typical of the Rajasthan skyline. She shows them in their humble manifestations, leaving it to the viewer to see them merely as cultural emblems if they will or something sinister brewing in a laboratory (memories of Pokhran?) or even as a melting pot of knowledge.

As she says it could be a banal subject or one that is imbued with symbolism, the choice is yours. Sabine is also fascinated by the utilitarian shutters in godowns and shops, "especially the rusted ones" and enjoys the play of light and shade on them.

However, at the centre of her works is the human being, frozen and stiff in the face of tragedy. A rugged, strong line defines the figures and is expressive of intense human feeling. Martin Rehkopp, culture manager, Kulturforum Rheine, who had recently brought a team of German artists to the city says art styles are becoming universal and adds, "In a world that is getting smaller, art occupies a special place across the many existing ideological, geographical and political boundaries."


Back home, Knut Willich has a print studio in the Department of Graphic Arts, University of Applied Sciences, where he interacts with artists who want to do print in a limited edition. As a teacher he supports them, explaining the different possibilities and techniques in this media.

He too finds an impressive colour language in Kochi, "which is non existent in my country." While here, Knut was enthused to create artistic images of different flags on textiles.

Dietmar Schmale gave up medicine at the fag end of his course to study art and doesn't regret the decision one bit. But the study of anatomy and forensics has left an indelible mark on him; medical instruments that could be used for cutting, sawing, stabbing are neatly arranged in suitcases, in a series titled Suitcase Objects for Rent.

"My prison formed by personal circumstances (living in a rural city, taking care of my dependant grandmother...) causes me to have aggressive feelings constantly, which evoke pictures of their possible outbreak (suitcase objects)." In another series titled Art of Treating Life as Equivalent to Art, he makes a point that the word art is hugely misused. Bookcases containing over a 100 books on titles such as The Art of Loving, Art of Finding a Partner, Murder as a Fine Art, and Art of gardening constitute this `art' work.

The Kulturforum Rheine organises roughly four international meets per year where artists from different regions can come together and "take in the new colours, sounds and smells," says Rehkopp and suggests that artists should be open to new ideas and symbolism.

SUNANDA KHANNA

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