Accumulation of Culture

Reinhard Klessinger, 2001/2024
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    This sculpture is part of the series Berge bezwingen (Conquering Mountains) of 2001.

    Conquering mountains is no easy endeavour. Mountains remain a formidable challenge. As one of nature’s largest phenomena, mountains epitomise the forces of nature. As a passionate mountaineer, I know a thing or two about that. You constantly have to reassess how far you can and want to go. Can we subjugate nature, or are we subject to it? To what extent do we have to cultivate nature? When must nature remain untouched? In relation to art, these questions mean: to what extent can nature act as a model for the visual arts or do the visual arts represent the antithesis of nature? The sculpture Kulturanhäufung (Accumulation of Culture) addresses these kinds of questions in a playful and ironic manner.

    The history of civilisation is full of aberrations that run counter to nature, which is precisely why there is such a longing for unspoilt nature. Thus, the mountainous Heap of Culture has two sides – one that is critical of civilisation and one that is romantic, however without ever slipping into easy romanticisation. Klessinger’s mountain does not depict nature, it an autonomous work of art borne of the artist’s engagement with nature and the means of the fine arts – Cezánne would see it as a harmony parallel to nature.
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