HUMAN LANDSCAPE by Axel Schöpf
Landscape designed: English Gardening - a paradise for foxes, French formalism, longing and the power of perspective - marshland and nettles. What would the landscape be without the idea of the landscape, the dream of the world without the dreamer.
But that's how man is, he measures everything against himself, what standard he would have otherwise. Hence our skepticism towards statistics, they calculate for us what we cannot experience. Where our perspective is restricted, i.e. outside of our living environment, we have to decide: calculate or imagine.
Axel Schöpf has made a decision. His pictorial worlds are immediate. In the middle of life, his characters stand in the room. Grumbling and groaning, laughing and crying rooted in and interwoven with the structures of his imagination.
Souls emerged from things, projections like us when we admit it. The soul - ANIMA from the being of the world looks towards us from his pictures. Archetype of the feminine, her image appears where she appears, in dreams, visions and fantasies, personified.
When asked why human landscape, Axel Schöpf refers to the simple fact that the title in English can be read as a short summary description of the picture. His work has to do with the basic forms of nature and the perception of landscape by people and people in the landscape, hidden, integrated and / or obviously physically present.
Axel Schöpf was not born with the subject of landscape. Growing up in a dreary settlement next to the barracks on the outskirts of Hanover, his father was a professional soldier, he made his first experiences with the landscape after moving to rural Schaumburg, where his parents had bought a house. But he did his training as a travel agent in Hanover, so the apartment far outside the city was rather a hindrance, so back to the city and from there trips around the world, by hitchhiking and with your own car through half of Europe.
His second attempt at country life brought the flash - Axel Schöpf found an apartment in a castle, an old wall surrounded by moats in the middle of an overgrown park. The impressions he gained there, the experience of spring in nature and later, during his studies, the work he created en plein air on a study trip to Tuscany, were the initial spark for his artistic work.
In his pictures, Axel Schöpf tells associative, spontaneous stories that emerged from the drawing, graphic process. He cyclically spreads his ideas in ever new variations. He calls these series capriccios, whims, quirks, lustful rule violations of academic norms.
What does the artist mean by capriccio?
Dante's word creation from his Divine Comedy, this combination of caput and riccio, i.e. head and hedgehog, the head hair standing on end, the archetype of fright at the sight of hell or the folk etymological phrase, the leap of the billy goat: suddenly, unmotivated, on a whim. Both can be found in his work, because in addition to the colorful diversity, there is a deep seriousness in the pictures. The artist is always also political: NATO - double resolution, anti - nuclear power movement, landscapes with mega - masts, monotonous corn fields and wind turbine monsters that have become an agricultural desert today due to the misguided energy turnaround. 50 years ago, nature and landscape were declared to be the environment, and authorities, associations and political parties are now committed to protecting it. Environment means a new understanding of outside and inside under which laws and ordinances are enacted and protected areas are set up, with the result of the islanding of nature. Because the postulate of efficiency is spreading like powdery mildew over the country. But it is precisely these islands that Axel Schöpf presents to us in his pictures and brings them to life with his creatures.
40 years of German history, in which, in retrospect, in the sense of caput - riccio, the hair stands on end, is mastered in his pictures in creative leaps and bounds or sublimated in pictures of Christian symbolism with which we all grew up. Lamentation depicts loss, suffering and redemption, archetypes of the evening that we cannot get out of our heads.
Nature and landscape are not abstract concepts for Axel Schöpf, their image explodes in the intoxication of colours and shapes, at the same time his landscapes are deeply romantic - idylls in the awareness of the threat: et in Arcadia ego.
The discomfort in and in his time is reflected in his figurative works. Faces in a double sense of the word as counterpart and appearance. They too are landscapes, soul landscapes and expressions of social sensitivities that he consciously and unconsciously processes in his work.
Everything becomes a source of inspiration for him, the house in HEUERSSEN, in which the artist lived for many years, which crouches under a mighty poplar in the barren northern German landscape and the colourful impressions of his southern French long-sought place BARDOU, in whose river valleys he is his PARADISE found.
Axel Schöpf thus spans almost half a century of German painting tradition from the 1980s to the present day. He turns his creative break into a program and does so in the present. Landscapes that shape themselves. Autonomous realms of being, appearance and reflection, mirror worlds, faces that look at us and in which we find ourselves. As Hegel wrote under a portrait drawing of Wilhelm Hensel, Fanny Mendelsohn's husband: “Our knowledge should become knowledge. Who knows me will recognize me here.“
In doing so he takes the natural freedom of the creator - nomen est omen - completely unscrupulous, he ignites a firework of colors and shapes that it is a joy!
There are old etchings, a bit timid, a bit schooly, too bad to throw away, but also a bit embarrassing. And what does Axel Schöpf make of it? - he paints over radically - courage becomes a program - freedom becomes method - bravo and thanks for his example of overcoming unsafe touch and finding completely new, haunting imagery.
by Theodor Vollmer