Felix Oehmann Interview on Indechs.org

Cultural Avenue
Mar 31, 2014 8:07AM

One branch of the Cultural Avenue is indechs.org; an online platform for contemporary culture. 

Biweekly Theme Weeks are created, which operate around one specific topic that feels relevant in the current cultural production. Each week starts off with an interview between Indechs and a protagonist of the particular subject, initiating a debate underlined by related posts during the week.

The twenty-first Theme Week, focuses on the exhibition "Better than your neighbour",  at Schloss Wiesen organized by the Cultural Avenue initiative. The week starts off by introducing one of the participating artists through an interview in more detail: Felix Oehmann. Felix graduated in 2012 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe and currently lives and works in Berlin. Read the interview to get a better understanding of his practice, inspiration and method of working. 

Could you tell us a bit about your practice, please? Naturally but still surprising to me all of my thoughts and ideas I develop end up in a sculpture. Or rather without sculpture I would hardly be able to develop thoughts and ideas. To know about your field can give you a feeling of security on the other hand sometimes it can feel like a burden you have to carry on your shoulders and cant get rid of. It's maybe comparable to an old love. That could also be the reason why most of the time the sculptures end up larger-scaled. At least a larger scaled vision is always inherent. To lean on them literally. But if I really would, the sculptures and me would both just fall over. As their own character is ambiguous in that sense. It's the attempt to create something strong enough, to talk about weakness. Or rather showing their weakness makes them become strong. This can be regarded as one of the aims of my practice.     You work predominantly if not purely in sculpture – where does your fascination for the three-dimensional come from? I don't know. My family was very surprised as I applied to art school to become a sculptor as I was not one of the boys that went out to build tree houses neither was I interested in any comparable activities. I think it's rather an interest in architecture and special places that are able to bring certain people together. Wether it is a comfortable or stressful encounter. I never mind to slide into without any restraint. I like the most crowded and sweaty bar in Kreuzberg sitting on a worn out bench next to a shouting bum as much as I like a silent Berlin sunset walking home alone after a long night dancing and trying to not walk home alone. I like the deafening noise of Michael Schumachers Ferrari in Hockenheim as much as I like the sound of raindrops on the rooftop. I think it's simply a dedication to any form of sensuality that life offers. So the three-dimensional has definitely a limit to this but maybe it's the best way for me to get close to that variety of the sensual and to share it in a challenging way.  “Big is beautiful – or does size matter?” Many of your works are humongous. Do you deliberately choose to work in large formats? What are the reasons to scale it up? If I could choose I wouldn't do it. I believe in the sensual reality of sculpture nower days even more as we live in times where the most flattest and slickest surface of a smartphone cannot be flat enough to make you feel more comfortable.  All of our communication runs through this flatness. I also believe that this technical progress has a positive and challenging impact on our human minds. Not to say it might even have an evolutionary power. Wether it's generating or degenerating. This moving away from the physical is at the same time producing a higher need for the physical. So in conclusion sculpture is the medium of our time. Precisely because it is so not fitting in to it. It is and will be able to fill the hole we have produced ourselves. So big is beautiful but size matters!   Many of your sculptures render well-known poses and signs, yet are always broken at some point. How deliberate are you choreographing these cuts or are they developing during its own process? I have the expectation that shit happens. This is what I try to sort out in the process of making a sculpture. I am challenging the collapse of the sculptures upright position by preferring soft and fragile materials and to confront myself with constructive problems consciously. My practice can be described as an antiminimalistic approach towards sculpture. Instead of reducing things to their essence by simplifying form, which is most common in younger history, I rather want to show how complicated the most simple things are by creating complex forms. Starting point is always the simplest drawing you can imagine. Sticking to clear signs like hearts, lips or numbers create an encounter between sculpture, viewer and me on the same eye level. It's important that one has to not necessarily bring any knowledge but can get in touch with the work in a direct but challenging way. Creating a sculpture means above all to set the imaginary founding it's based on. It might be even more important than the sculpture itself.     Most works have one, sometimes several smaller siblings. Are these working models and ideas? How planned are the final outcomes? I often do the small versions to find out the salient point of a sculpture which triggers the bigger version. A larger idea is always inherent from the beginning. Also there is no limit to size. I don't have a certain space in mind which I would adapt them to. Space has to adapt to them. Still the small versions are unique pieces and exist independent from the bigger ones. The final outcome can only be planned to a certain point. I am stressing the unknown on purpose. It's a way to surprise myself and to be surprising. Therefore you have to be able to trust things. I hope that this moment of trust can be transmitted.  

 Click here to read the complete Interview on Indechs.org
Cultural Avenue