SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?

The fall of man, the departure from a comfortable life under strict rules in the Garden of Eden, can be seen as a conscious step by humanity to demand the capacity to judge between good and evil. Man thus underlines his own divinity. The self-aware human being, now a Creator, will now constantly have to consider his own actions. Will I step forward into the unknown or will I stand still? Will I go left or right, will I say yes or no, is this good or bad?
This work is part of the Universe project.

LET US MAKE MAN

These fitted cases lie casually arranged, like cases for musical instrument. With a reference to the iconic image in Michelangelo’s fresco, the viewer can recognize a well-known form: God’s touch bringing Adam to life. The case made to contain God with his outstretched hand is open. ‘Let us make man’ calls for a redefinition of the content (or the lack of it) and explores how old and new truths and values acquire new meaning. Not in a symbolic sense, but literally: man, as the creator of everything that is possible, is now about to create his own creator. This work is part of the Universe project.

TORSO RM / SELF-PORTRAIT 6

Pinned and stretched over the body of the Torso Belvedere (viewed in art history circles as a universal symbol of sculptural art) sits a copy of – the sloughed skin – of Berger himself. Through this act, the ancient art work became Berger’s own self-portrait, and he made himself the master of the sculptural tradition. Acquired in 2016 by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Torso RM is part of the Skin works.

SKELETON

In 2012 Caspar Berger succeeded in becoming the first person in the world to have an exact copy made of his own skeleton, using a CT scan of his body. The data was then made compatible for use with a 3D printer, which printed an accurate copy of the artist’s skeleton. This sparked the start of the Skeleton project.  

EGO VIVO / SELF-PORTRAIT 25

Holding one's own bones in his hands was one thing, building a monument to celebrate one’s life another. First erected in 2013 at Blickachsen 9, Frankfurt this monument was presented as part of the Skeleton project. Followed by presentations at Lowlands, 2015 and at present (temporary) in the gardens of Kasteel het Nijenhuis, museum de Fundatie, Zwolle.

ATTRACTION / SELF-PORTRAIT 30

In the video projection Attraction/Self-portrait 30, silver-grey balloons with cast parts of Berger’s skeleton attached to them descend from a cloudy sky, like a reversed process of creation. When the sun breaks through, we might wonder whether or not it will ultimately be humanity that will have command of the space between heaven and earth. Attraction / Self-portrait 14 is part of the Skeleton project.

NARCISSUS / SELF-PORTRAIT 15

The self-portrait is not a customary subject in sculpture, as it is in painting. Sculptors rarely portray themselves, though in more recent art history the phenomenon has established a place for itself. The self-portraits by early Italian painters were referred to as Ritratto allo specchio (portrait in the mirror). It is this term, with its many possible interpretations, that lies at the basis for the development of Narcissus / Self-portrait 15. This work is part of the Skin project.

INNOCENZO X

There is a dark side to this sculpture: because statues are attributed with mysterious power, even if it is only the power of expression, they often fall victim to iconoclasts. This is why there are so many statues, particularly those of religious or political significance, of which only fragments remain. Here lies the root of Berger’s fascination with mutilation, as expressed in the amputations he inflicts on his sculptures. Innocenzo X is part of the Skin works.

PIETÀ

The source of this work is one of the most famous icons in art: the Pietà by Michelangelo (1475-1564). Berger’s icon, however, is inverted; the sculpture is inside out. In contrast to the absolute perfection of Michelangelo’s statue, Berger’s Pietá is a raw representation, and universal loss – emptiness – is externalised.

Pietà is part of the Skin works.

VERA ICON / SELF-PORTRAIT 10

Vera icon/Self-portrait 10 is a fragmented imprint of the Caspar Berger's face, cast in the form of a round medal. On the front is a nose, a closed eye, and in particular a large area of skin. On the rim, teeth grin at us, while the reverse shows an ear. Vera Icon/Self-portrait 10 carries a range of associations: questions as to the verity of the image, the significance of an imprint versus its authenticity and, not least, the use of gold, a precious material rarely used in sculpture, compared value of an artwork to its artistic value. But not without irony, as attested by Caspar Berger’s mocking grin on the rim of the medal. This work is part of the Skin works.

SKIN AND BONE / SELF-PORTRAIT 24

Skin and Bone/Self-portrait 24 links the connection between the Skin works and the Skeleton project. The skin is what bears our unique identity when we are alive, but after death it irrevocably decays. From that point we can be identified only by the information held in our bones. Each bone, printed after my own bones, is encased in a tightly sewn sleeve. The sleeve is a direct imprint from my own skin. Thus, the symbol of eternity is enveloped in the contemporary.

FAMILY

The fragment of sculpture leaves room for the imagination; it stimulates creativity and is poised at the interface between the figurative and the abstract. In Family a number of the sitting members are missing legs or feet. The shattered and solidified bronze creates the impression that these limbs have been lost in a huge explosion. Family is part of the Skin works