The installations and paper works of blauorange 2009 prizewinner Björn Braun maintain a balance between art and nature, the natural and the artificial. In the cultural landscapes of his collages, romantic views saturated with German sentimentality, he only uses the “material” that he already finds in the image. His abstract works, for example, consist of paper that is handmade by “recycling” books by Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter, and his sculptural works pursue a similar logic in transforming material and content.
Accordingly, in Braun’s work process nothing can be lost, everything left over must be used, and nothing can be destroyed without something new emerging, as for example in an installation that is being shown for the first time at the Braunschweig exhibition. A simple wooden bench is placed before an abstract work. Looked at closely, the bench is missing a bar from both the seat and the back.
Braun has made them into a landscape of roughly made paper that is divided by a horizontal line. The “earth” was created using the plank from the seat, the “sky” using the bar taken from the rear. The metamorphoses of the material are the story here, enabled by minimal formal interventions with maximal thematic impact and decelerated by using old cultural techniques. Der Waldgänger comes from the literal dissolution of Stifter’s novel of the same name, an edition bound in green linen from a used-books-store. Boiled and made into new paper, the work still reflects the color of the linen, rough fibers and individual letters. Stifter’s detailed descriptions of nature are now condensed into an abstract landscape. And the size of the book determines the size of the picture.
Braun concentrates on form and transformation. Or he allows nature to work directly. For a new installation, Braun had zebra finches make their nests using the material he provided. In another work the Artist boiled a nest he found, making it into an egg carton that provides the birds’ eggs with a good hold. Braun’s concepts cannot be used as agitprop for environmentalists: his stories of transformation are too poetic.
The art prize blauorange 2009 will be awarded to Björn Braun on December 10 at 7pm at Kunstverein Braunschweig at the Exhibition opening. The prizewinning exhibition, curated by Bettina Klein, can be
seen there until January 2010. Björn Braun’s artist book will be available as of January 2010.