CASPAR BERGER - INTRODUCTION
The question I ask myself as an artist: to what extent am I capable as a creator freely to create a world as I imagine it and which I can control? Where is the tipping-point, and when do I fall prey to my own cultural programming? When I set free a sculpture from a piece of raw material, who sets me free of the sculpture, the enclosed space that I can no longer open from the inside, the ideology that has swallowed me and which can turn against me?
Meaning only exists in time, in change. Perspectives change, boundaries move. I am thus obliged to make use of temporary boundaries. After all, without boundaries, there is no form, without form I can make nothing visible. Without form, there is no story, and without a story, there is no identity. If I do not determine the boundaries myself, I do not exist, I dissolve in my sculptures and my sculptures in me.
As an artist I am indebted to the history and tradition of art. I see the Italian High Renaissance as a point of reference from which I stem and which causes me to shuttle back and forth between past and future, with time as a continuum in which I occupy an instable place between extremes and contradictions, between seclusion and the outside world, between ephemerality and eternity, between transient and apparent inertia and constant change.
The self-portrait – or ‘mirror portrait’ (ritratto allo specchio) as the earlier Italian painters referred to it – is not a common genre in the history of sculpture. The reason that sculptors have rarely portrayed themselves is a prosaic one: for a long time they had no way of seeing themselves in three dimensions. The phenomenon of the self-portrait in art history is central to my work as a sculptor. In the series of self-portraits I have made over the years, I have constantly sought new approaches to the phenomenon. In doing so I not only investigate the autonomous self-portrait from the perspective of its technical and physical obstacles, but I also examine my own person from a historical, mental and social perspective. Using old and new techniques, I raise the question as to whether or not by definition all art is a divine self-portrait by its maker. See all Skin works
In 2012 I have made use of the incredible possibilities to reveal the invisible that modern medical techniques offer, in order to make tangible what lies beneath the skin. Using a CT scan and a 3D printer, I made an exact copy of my skeleton. It became the start of the Skeleton project. I look at my own skeleton as strange eyes will do once I am dead and my body has decayed, and as I do with archaeological remains from generations ago. The identities appear to have vanished, yet they have remained intact and traceable. As I look at my skeleton from different perspectives, the viewer is drawn into the eternal struggle between mortality and immortality. See all Skeleton works
The Universe project started in 2015, which centres on the physical space within my skull. In this space, again made tangible with a CT scan and 3D printer, I exist. From this space, both full and empty at the same time, I am my own universe. Innumerable philosophers have explored the question of whether the world outside this chamber is the same for each of us. This is a complex question, but it is a given that in order to function within a society we must engage with a common system of coordinates; constructs of ‘consciousness’ in a physical, social and political sense. These constructs form the very core of the Universe project, which raises questions about freedom and restraint, privacy and social behaviour, and the capacity for self-development and self-determination within a humanist tradition. The project makes these phenomena visible and tangible in a new series of sculptures and installations. See all Universe works
The Skeleton project has been made possible with the support of:
Toshiba medical Systems Europe, Zoetermeer: J. Ruis, R. Verlaan, D. Blesing, ‘t Lange Land Ziekenhuis, Zoetermeer: Jan Willem Kuiper, RP2, Etten-Leur: Mike de Winter, Ron Klauss, Duyts Bouwconstructies BV, Amsterdam: Joran Grentzius.