Monday, September 21, 2009

More from Alexander Binder

Pluton/calabi-yau by Alexander Binder. Found via the Exposure Project.

So a few weeks ago I talked to Alexander Binder about the questions I had about his work via facebook, after he read my previous post about his work on the blog. His response to my questions (both stated in the email and on my blog) was very well stated, and I appreciate the chance to have that exchange, especially since it doesn't get to happen very often among artists I don't know personally. I will say that some of my feelings about the work remain the same, but I do think it's important to hear both the motivation behind his work and my critique of it. This video somewhat emphasizes my feelings. Below is the exchange:

ME: So I wrote about your work a week or two ago on my blog, and it reminds me alot of Grant Willing's latest project. I don't think we've ever met, so I'm assuming that's where our connection is. I'd be interested in hearing more about the thought process behind your work. I like the idea of creating your own cameras and consciously using non-state of the art equipment to make work, but I wonder what draws you mysticism and things like the occult? Is it something just stylistic, or is there some sort of symbolism that I'm missing out on?

Anyway, looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

ALEXANDER: dear gregg,

first of all: thanks for your reply!

and yes – i read your post about my work on your blog some days ago. to be honest: i really appreciate your critical comments because it takes much more time and thoughts to express this than just saying “cool” or “wow”.

i don’t know if the following leads to a deeper understanding about the thought process behind my works, but maybe it helps you to get a better access to my stuff.

my whole body of work is some kind of modern interpretation of the medieval “memento mori”. like the works of early netherlandish painter hans melmling they shall remind us of our own mortality – and furtheron – motivate us to think about our afterlife and the supernatural powers which maybe influence our life. some of my works do this in a very direct and straightforward way by showing the protagonists of modern evil: creatures inspired by horror movies or black metal subculture. and i understand that some people could think that this is just another example of contemporary gothic chic.

other images are a little bit more complex to decode. for example my whole light works are inspired by gustave dorĂ©’s illustration “the fall of lucifer”, which shows the motionless body of archangel lucifer falling down to earth in a mystic ray of light. lucifer comes from the latin lux=light and ferre=to bring. the name is the direct translation of the septuagint greek heosphoros, ("dawn-bearer") and the hebrew helel, ("bright one") – having mythologically the same meaning as prometheus who brought fire to humanity. just to cut a long story short: this symbolism puts an image which shows a beautiful ray of light (that might be at the first sight harmless and just beautiful) in a completely new context: it emblematizes the presence of sheer evil – and on the other side it even poses the question if this hidden evil could be the new good.

as a teenager i devoured the books of aleister crowley and build up “an inner visual library” based on medieval european art by bosch, wolgemut, claesz, bruegel on one side - and 80ies horror movies by hooper, raimi or carpenter on the other side. so much of my work is heavily influenced by the aesthetics and symbols of these art and film genres.

i’d really like to invite you to have a look at my website and blog at:

thanks again for your feedback.

all the best from the black forest,

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