|Of course, my
affection for iron didn't arise while I was riding on a train. It simply emerged, all of a
sudden. Or maybe it grew slowly: unnoticed by me until devices for transport and
construction, tools that shaped my life made iron more conspicious to me as the epoque of
iron being a foil to identify myself with the time I grew up in. It was then that I came
across those great conceptions of bridges keenly brandished over rivers and straits; or
the Tower of Eiffel, its dismembered silhouette contrasting a blazing evening sky, or
railroad tracks that sink their way through the cleft sceneries of a Westen movie. But
then there were those railroad journeys in the old days, those school excursions, I
remember sittting on the rear platform of the old third-class coaches where the tracks
emerged from underneath forming an iron belt vanishing in the distance. Lost pictures
aren't lost but keep surfacing, back is the staccato of railroad wheels that rolled by,
rushing over the joints of the tracks, back are the distinctive smells of metal and urine
along the banks, the track themselves polished on the upper side by speedy wheels, whet
like the blade of some dangerous weapon; beneath the sleepers, however, lies gravel
covered by a thin layer of splintered iron particles, looking like a rust-colored bed. The
embankment as abandoned battlefield, a place where iron met iron, sparkling and red with
huge power, but where now the remainders of this seemingly undestructible metal crumble
Only later in my life I got aware that rust means decay since it signals that iron I had thought to be undestructible is not everlasting. In my chemistry classes I was taught the scientific formulas for a process of decay I wasn't ready to accept then. But during my apprenticeship as a machinefitter I learnt to live with it.
But while you are being young you must yearn greedily for immortality. That I became ar ironsculptor has its roots in the unconditional claim, in the will to discipline this seemingly hermetical material, to melt it, to form it according to my notions. It was then that those mystical visions took possession of my mind, the spirit of mighty Hephaistos haunted me, pushing me into that megalomania to create iron emblems of the world. That I had really made it yet in a much comprehensive sense became clear to me only later. The sculpture I set free after many trials thus confronting the beholder may represent one part of the world in which I stir transitorily, but only step by step did I understand that it wasn't the shape itself that mirrored my world but that it was the iron as material that puts to question my seemingly final shape: because it decays in and with time.
If you ponder that right to the very end you slowly but inevitably aim at an artistic conception which totally puts in question the shape made by the sculptor meant as emblem of a perfect act of creation which itself can assume various patterns. Iron being a transient material suggests the abandonment of working within the space of time that man is provided with. The mere thought that we produce nuclear waste on our atomic plant located in the city of Gösgen that remains toxic ten times as long as the Egyptian Pyramids have survived irritates me in a way that reduces in meaning everything I am producing right now. Our will to progress that aims at improving the conditions and limitations of human life is being forfeited permanently by the side-effects that this so called progress produces: toxic trashdumps, an atmosphere that decomposes and evaporates.
Therefore, in 1982, I created my first so-called `timesculpture' which means that I involved time as unit of measurment, into my works treating it like a dimension of its own the way I do it with hight, width and length. In these series of tests I wanted to find traces into the past as well as mark new ones into the future.
In 1991, located on a stone glacier above Albula Pass, I built a sculpture on the waterdivide exposed to decay, hidden to the hiker unless he seeks for it.
In 1992, I placed four graphite eggs into the crater of Mount Kilauea on Hawaii. They are just there without being seen by anybody else these days. They are the eggs of the black Phoenix laid into the ashes where the vulcano will hatch them. When one day ages away from now this vulcano will get cold, when it will erode slowly in about 1,8 million of years just to give you a halfway plain idea of the timescale these eggs will have turned into diamonds. In representation for my generation, plainly for mankind I laid a track into the future as a testimony of my time. Maybe that then there will be somebody who traces back these prints.
Of course I am still an ironsculptor deep in my soul, and of course working in a team can still stimulate me most since without the support of the experts who are involved in my project and who will surrender to my specific ideas of shape I cannot create a thing. Needless to mention that I need contemporary feedback to my work. I need the audience as well as the critics, I need the connoisseur although I prefer placing my sculptures half an hour away from the next parking area to exhibiting them in a museum. I withdraw from the lazy beholder of art as well as from the daily critique of art since it has no criteria to judge my art of what becomes more and more important to me: to conceive projects that last beyond my own lifetime or even beyond human existence.
My next project "timemark" will start in april 1998. You are cordially invited to participate activetly.
SEEN ON A COSMIC SCALE ONLY THE PHANTASTIC HAS A CHANCE TO BE TRUE
says Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French priest and author. This is my favourite aphorism as well as my arstitic program.
Finally the schizophrenia of such a life that asks for change and selfrestriction respectively reflects the condition of our civilsation I am trying to visualize using its own means that it offers me. At the same time I strive for overcoming in these projects that aim beyond our time: as evidence of a civilisation that tries learning to live with insanity.
Written down by Peter Zeindler
ARCH. Steelsculptur in Zurich 1988 - 90