Artist Mark Huebner/ 1966 -Ffm-Germany/ Multi media Installations, Performance Art, Sculpture and Painting/ Bamboo Art and Construction/ lives and works in Costa Rica and Germany
Co-owner and creator of the eco-lodge www.ojodelmar.com/ Founder of Bamboo Rocks S.A./ Head of Bamboo Cooperative and tropical Building Consultant
Arriving in Munich in 1989 I discovered a deserted island in the middle of the city. It was an incredible place, an old factory established in 1837 surrounded by rivers and trees. The company that owned the factory had recently changed location, the place was abandoned. I quickly moved in calling one of the empty spaces my first studio. During this transition I learned the building was being set up as an artist colony. As a pioneer of this colony I soon found myself surrounded by great artists of all persuasions. Up until that point painting had been my primary artistic expression. My studio was unsuitable for painting. This prompted my genesis as a sculptor. I mined steel and scraps from junk yards; this became my medium.
I learned a lot from my artist companions, some of whom were already quite well known. I found it challenging and invigorating. Concentrating one hundred percent on my work allowed me to progress rapidly. Working with steel is expensive, money became short. This factor led me to develop my skills as a designer. I created furniture, theatre and movie sets, concert venues, clubs and restaurants as well as private homes and commercial centers. At the time I felt a separation. I struggled, seeing the design work as a deviation separating me from my more classical work. In retrospect I realise it is all one. Design work being a commercial expression of the more contemplative art within.
Design work requires rationality and rigidity. Functional components are limiting. I felt barriers in being able to convey my message. Within Art the lack of frame, structure and most importantly guidelines causes the artist to rely primarily on inner mind space and strength of intuition. These are boundless. For this reason I have consciously separated these to fields of work regardless of there spheres of influence.
My performances began with the simple idea of penetrating a steel plate with a steel spike wielding a steel hammer. A cycle titled 'Impact Phenomenon’.
In its various manifestations this concept became the core expression of all of my work going forward: simultaneous creation and destruction.
This is not an intellectual process but rather the dynamic manifestation of inner forces.
The urge to express the reality of continuous change, the flow between the polarities of our existence.
Works from this period made this concept both visceral and tangible to the audience.
The Art Performances were live and filled with action, they provided an unadulterated experience.
Ready for change, I moved to Costa Rica in 2000.
Finding myself in this pristine and remote corner of the world, I left the hard core industrial world behind.
This was a life altering experience and allowed for a new trajectory within my work.
Adios steel, Hello Nature.
I welcomed the world of abundant natural materials.
In the beginning of my foray into this new environment survival was essential.
I began with shelter.
I used locally grown bamboo to build Ojo Del Mar, that over time became an internationally acclaimed retreat center.
A magical place.
The only solid plan surrounding this oasis was a vision of a new lifestyle and a different quality of work space.
Suddenly the convenience of a civilised world with basics such as electricity were far out of reach.
Everything had to be made by hand.
I embraced the innovation and creativity required to get things accomplished on the Peninsula de Osa.
Ojo del Mar gave me my bearings, Tarzan like, in this new environment.
The precious and abundant hard woods available from the surrounding rain forest made it almost impossible to work with my self-constructed hand tools.
Bamboo entered the picture.
Initially an experiment, I realised it was a fundamental and functional medium for construction and art.
Pioneering the idea of employing this sustainable resource,
the concept of excluding industrial and synthetic materials as much as possible, inspired me and completely changed my approach.
It felt right and humane.
Upon the completion of Ojo del Mar I landed numerous opportunities to realise bamboo building projects of various scale allowing me to improve my technique and experience.
I was strident in my approach towards sustainability.
Evolving a new method of jointing bamboo allowed me to upscale the limits within construction and art.
Philosophically it all remained the same.
The cyclical nature of life and death reinforced my premise of creation and destruction.
I am influenced by the world and my surroundings.
Consciously balancing the polarities I witnessed and permitted progress and innovation to manifest.
It is an exposition of the struggles and fears that are a part of the human condition.
The mind and spirit holding these entangled patterns, it is only with a willing sense of awareness which enables us to look into, analyse and transform our fear and suffering.
My art is an act of creation and destruction.
Balancing and harmonising the polarities, allowing us to transcend our perceived limits.
As the painter Francis Bacon said, “Why talk about it, if you can paint it?”
The window of perception differs — I see what you see, but we still don’t see the same.
An explanation is trying to create a common ground, agreements on which our society is based.
We see what we are able to see, and we reflect ourselves while being confronted (with a work of art).
But, nevertheless, there is also a threat that follows through, a threat that has been established throughout life, a threat that becomes evident within the artist’s creation.
It is the strength of intuition, for the most part, that manifests.
Energy moves from one end to another—or maybe it just all flows in a big circle—but there are the poles of destruction and creation and, in between, there is the constant flow of energy that keeps everything running.
The process of destruction is creation. The process of creation is at the same time destructive.
We apply different values to it, but they are the same.
Our technical and artificial advancements also might stand in contrast to what we call the natural world—that untouched part of the world remaining in its unspoiled, pure, and natural state.
But just as much as creation and destruction are the same, so is nature and the seemingly destructive artificial world. Everything is nature; everything we do on one end or the other is nature. The separation is obsolete.
For an artist, the destructive elements are inherent, and so is the creative potential, the polarity, and the flow in between.
We clearly thrive on progress and advancements to improve, but at the same time, we suffer from the destruction that we ourselves cause or from the influence around us.
If we were able to melt those two ends together, look at them as one energy, we might be able to understand that one does not exist without the other—they are one.
It is then solely our imagination that applies certain values. What holds us together is the agreement upon those values. They are so fluctuant through time and, just as everything else, they change.
Intuition always overcomes our thinking mind. It is inherently the strength of any artistic work that happens within that process.
The tension within this cycle is also the core principle throughout my work.
Independent of time and influenced by our environment.
The struggles come with experience and the fact that nothing remains the same.
That everything is moving and changing.
Everything once born will die. Everything created will be destroyed. Everything destroyed will be created in a new form or shape.
This man-made artificial world and the pure natural world also become one.
Everything, then, is nature.
We are nature.
No matter what we do and how destructive it might be.
Living in an environment untouched by destruction showed me that everything we do has destructive components, that nature itself exists within this tragedy.
The more fragile and unspoiled an environment is, the more evident this becomes.
But it is, and should be, our goal to preserve and protect and understand the balance between these forces.
Our imagination of how things are, and should be, also changes. So do the values that we apply to them.
Whatever you might or might not see in this work, whatever thought or emotion it might trigger, it will perhaps be from your own imagination and capability of understanding, within a particular state of mind.