Friday, November 30, 2007

Antagonism and Amalgamation.
Inside Ulf Göpfert's Studio
(Gert Röhrborn, Dresden)

(Left: Ulf Göpfert playing on a self-made “Klavizimbel“ in his studio; photograph G.R.)

Ulf Göpfert is a man of clarity. Metaphorically speaking, the professor of architecture who used to be his father placed him in a cradle of Bauhaus school. Göpfert did not just learn and perfect his craftsmanship of furniture restoration; he has appropriated its very essence. His artistic convictions are guidelines valid for shaping his social environment as well.

Göpfert abides by the traditional creed that art is to be derived from proficiency. He is out for the challenge to amalgamate the clarity and linearity of human constructive form with the flux of organic nature. Niki de Saint Phalle has had considerable influence on him. Giving his instincts for play and research full scope, he is excited about the responsibility to determine and use the right moment for the completion of a work of art. Leaving hollow aestheticism behind, it is this decision from which he finally derives the yardstick used to judge success or failure of his entreprise. He is a vehement critic of the contemporary trend towards mindless eclecticism in art and society, as well as egomaniacal ignorance of valid standards and evidence of historical lifeworld. Göpfert is certainly not an iconoclast. He aims at fathering integrated artworks in which art and architecture form “a new object of higher quality“. Mere applications are a nuisance to him. He has further developed these thoughts in a recent tract .

His creative genius has not only been applied to his domicile, an old farmhouse refurbished over the past decades in the greenish outskirts of Dresden. Göpfert’s paintings only rarely tour through galleries; he prefers to place his in-depth-compositions permanently in public space. Whoever approaches this openhearted man will instantly realize: Ulf Göpfert tries to sustain a humane social environment in which exchange and competition instead of command and compliance function as guiding principles. To speak true at the right time is not enough. It is the fertile soil that needs to be tilled if humane and creative deeds may flourish and be reaped in the future.

By taking over political responsibility in the years following the collapse of the Communist regime Göpfert was able to leave his imprints on the Dresden cultural scene. Facing the destructive drive of zeitgeist, he has defended some endangered cultural actors and created space for newcomers. Since bailing out of politics more than 10 years ago he has dedicated his attention entirely to painting. He has not put his critical mind to a rest, though. Sneering at the absurdities of Dresden politics is a temptation he cannot resist forever. He provokes replies, and not in vain: they form an integral part of his art which is not a self-sufficient enterprise at all.

Project information:
Ulf Göpfert contributes „Individuality versus Dictatorship“ to the exhibition.

Visit his webpage