Kubo's Journey - Artweek.la – November 2011

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Multi media artist Kubo is a true cameleon, having embraced painting sculpture photography and mixed media work, the German born artist, now a fulltime now a Hong Kong resident) says his vision and inspiration stems from the Gestalt effect,  the form generating capability of the human senses.

Asked about his key  inspiration  and artistic influences, Kubo  reveals,I am interested in all forms of art.  Although, Gerhard Richter as a painter, is one of my favorites,  I also get a tremendous amount of inspiration from as music and film.

 “My main artistic influences started over 30 years ago, when I started creating art and became aware of the work of Paul Klee.   Although also heavily influenced by the abstract expressionists, it is the continual question, ‘what is going on here,’  that influences me the most - Life is about study and questions, and the more I travel and study life, the more questions arise.  My art is my way of answering that question.”

He cites his favorite artists as Gerhard Richter, “ though I seek tremendous amount of inspiration from as music and film.”Asked about the technical process involved in  creating his intricate mixed media  works, he reveals, “It’s a layer by layer process which can be up to more than 20 layers.”

Each layer itself is a special material mix where I steer and control the level and type of refection and the color itself.  I have developed all these materials over the last 25 years in my own lab.  These unique paints and techniques are used both in my paintings as well as my sculptures.  As a result,  I get complex structures and reflections which change with the position of the viewer. “ 
Each viewer will have a different experience depending on the angle of the refracted light.  Technically  it is impossible to do full scale reproductions of my works because of this process.  Conceptually, this also becomes a part of the piece, to create something which is as uncertain as reality is itself. I love to hear the discussions people have in front of my works about what they see. This effect is mainly being created because I just go to the point where the human brain starts to combine the structures and reflections to objects and stories we seem to know.  Even though we seem to think that reality is the same for all of us, it works differently with different people.”

Kubo’s work is part science part alchemy,  at times stark and dense, at others light and revelatory. He says of his own work, “As a viewer, some automatic process is already starting…your brain starts to fill in and make up stories. What is the connection between these things? I just bring it to the critical point and at the end your brain is just starting this process…whatever happens in your mind, it’s up to you”. 

Kubo adds, “ There’s a theory that our brains are hardwired to recognize shapes and forms in even the haziest of abstractions…that darkened laundry pile at night became a monster when you were little and now the plastic bag in the road becomes a white rabbit that causes you to swerve just slightly. This is the Gestalt effect; the form-generating capability of our senses, particularly in the visual field. This is the departure point from which artist KuBO takes his flying leap. He uses abstract shapes to challenge your eye-brain connection and see what you come up with. Manipulation isn’t the right word, but it’s the first one that comes to mind…

Combining well structured scientific thinking and working with artistic alchemy, he has the uncommon  ability to use both hemispheres of his brain and glides easily back and forth between the opposing fields. His scientific knowledge has given him the wherewithal to formulate and create his own paints. These are not your run-of-the-mill burnt siennas and raw umbers; these are colors with massive depth to them, the kind that you thought only nature could provide until now.

If you look at one of his works outside in the sun, it transforms from a beautiful painting into a stunning landscape seen from above. This effect is created by layers upon layers (between ten and 30!) and layers of paints and binding agents, all of which react to each other in different ways to make completely unique pieces. And not only are they pretty to look at but practical too: his colors have the highest rating of color-fastness possible. KuBO’s colorful paintings are full to the brim with Gestalt, just waiting for the viewer to complete the picture in their mind. He says of his own work, “As a viewer, some automatic process is already starting…your brain starts to fill in and make up stories.

On the biggest challenge facing him  as an artist nowadays, Kubo is philosophical, “Although I have been creating art for several decades now, I never was never really concerned about having an audience or exhibitions.   Recently, it seems the work is speaking to me, creating a pressure to be seen and experienced by others.  This is the hardest challenge as an artist, to deal with the responsibility of getting the work "out there."

Compared to Germany,  Hong Kong is a much faster place, where often  East and West collide, setting a lot of energy free. This is conducive to my way of working on paper, with a spontaneous energy in which I can make no corrections on the color is drawn.  This is essentially a characteristic of quick Sumi ink drawings which are a typical Eastern element For  the future Kubo says  he will focus on developing an audience for  his works now  “and hopefully these works can give something back,” he says.