Art sensation Wolfgang Stiller made us demand ourselves about life and death, dark and light. His works, from Schiele’s reminding drawings or the series of matches with human faces, made us think of what we can consider as dark or as light. His superb craft techniques best represents this month issue, investigating through human life.
When did you start making art ?
I started painting and stage design for theatre when I was in my last 3 years of high school. Art was my main subject next to English. After high school, I studied graphic design at the university but was actually only taking part in art classes like drawing, painting and so on. I left for the art academy after 3 years since I realized that I wanted to work as an artist. I consider myself starting to work as an artist around the age of 20.
Where do you take inspiration from?
My inspirations are connected with the things and subjects I am interested in. Art is the language I use to reflect about problems, issues and subjects of relevance to me. I always prefer art which is meaningful to art which is just beautiful.
I have to admit that some artists are exceptional in creating beauty and make me forget my preferences when I see their work.
For the last four years, I started to study Buddhism which became a great inspiration for my recent works.
I saw a collection of your drawings of your portfolio and they’re very profound and intense, especially the ones with children. Are they your favourite subject? Why?
No, they are not. I have an identical twin brother which is one of my subjects in art. I created quite some sculptures of twins and made quite some drawings with kids which are sometimes childhood memories, but other times just little stories I come up with to entertain myself. Drawing is a very spontaneous process and I hardly plan before I draw. So, sometimes it is abstraction and sometimes more figurative like kids.
Children are the most innocent creatures on earth, as we know, but in a certain way you represent another side of them. What is it? Can children have dark side too in their innocence?
As we know? I don’t think so at all. I always thought this to be a huge clichè . Kids have many qualities and they are very smart: from the moment they born, they develop tricks to get what they want and need. That is not what I consider innocent. They lie if they want to get something. They definitely have a different approach to life, a very simple and direct approach which they loose after being brainwashed for years to function in this so called adult world. Children are like little adults to me. I never speak with them like I am talking to retards and I don’t find them cute per se. Some kids are amazing and some are weird – not so different from adults. Sure kids have dark sides as well. Almost every kid tortures animals to some degree; they get the taste for power over another creature.
“Matchstickmen” is a very disturbing collection, representing dead faces but in a peaceful state. This made me think about what they don’t show: can darkness hide in plain light? What do you think?
The matchstickmen are mainly a metaphor for the impermanence of our human existence. Our lifespan is limited but we like to forget that all the time. We know somehow that we are going to die but that is not the way we live our lives. the way you refer to death as darkness is the usual way we look at death. That is why death is such a taboo in our society today. We are dying every day, every minute. From the moment we are born we are progressing towards death. Look at your baby photos: this kid you see is dead long time ago. We consider this body to be ours, but once this body dies we don’t exist any more. That is for sure a scary thought and that is why we do everything to avoid thinking about it. Death basically means changing into something else which happens all the time. If we change our view on death, it will become less scary. The peaceful expression on the faces of the Matchstickmen is on purpose: I want people to look at them and feel at ease with the impermanence of this physical existence since it doesn’t mean it is the end of everything.
What is your darkest side about?
I honestly don’t know if I have a dark side. In my normal life, I am pretty simple and straight forward. My work has sometimes those moments which are considered morbid by many people. But again, it always depends on our view of life and death.
Pics by Achim Kukulies