Christian Wolther, a 44-year-old Norwegian who is artist in residence of Khon Kaen University’s Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, is launching a multi-genre exhibition “Reflections” at the Museum of Art and Culture at the university. The two-week exhibition will close on 28 February 2009.
“I am presenting a wide variety of different aspects of my work, although personally I prefer to work more conceptually in more balanced, pure and tight compositions,” Christian Wolther says in an interview and review of the exhibition by Ratsaran Sireekan which was published in the Outlook section of Bangkok Post on 19 February 2008.
In the interview, Christian Wolther reflects on modern art, the role of colour in painting and the uniqueness of each of his creations.
“In order to give artworks justice, they must be perceived one by one, by themselves, and never in connection with a different work of art. If someone was to put my textworks together with my paintings, as if they were meant to stay together, I would say that this person has not understood their meaning. Every piece stands by itself, and there is no attempt whatsoever from me to create some kind of correspondence between my paintings and texts. Every piece must be taken for what it is, in itself.”
Further in interview with Christian Wolther, the writer Rathsaran Sireekan reflects on what he sees as a close tie between Wolthers works and the Buddhist belief.
“..in spite of this very close tie between his work and Buddhism, the Norwegian artist calls it an eternal rift between art and this most flourishing school of Oriental philosophy when asked how far he thinks art – especially his abstract painting whose centrality is the purity of colour – is capable of achieving the extinction of personality, the path towards the noblest “nothingness”, given the fact that each specific colour, no matter how pure it is, inevitably conjures up personalities and emotions in the viewers – the effect of which is, of course, differently rendered among individuals.”
He lets Christin Wolther reply:
“Art can never be dharma; I don’t want to mix them. There will always be a paradox because art means attachment to something, to something outside or inside ourselves. And Buddhism actually means to let go of these things.”
Christian Wolther elaborates:
“I would like to be clear about this, because I think that so much of so-called Buddhist art, is a self-contradiction. If you want to be a Buddhist, you should meditate and cultivate your mind and yourself, not create artworks and join the intellectual forum of modern art. It is possible to do both, and I would like to do both, but I do not think that it is possible to do both at the same time. To me, art is art, and Buddhism is Buddhism. Art is attachment, and Buddhism is the opposite of attachment.”
‘Reflections’ by Christian Wolther is on display at the Museum of Art and Culture in Khon Kaen University until February 28.