top of page

Reflektor M, Interview with (2016) on the occasion of the Diploma Exhibition, Academy of Fine Arts Munich (2016), with Christiane Breul


Profil: Keiyona Stumpf – Diploma 2016 (DE) Interview with Christine Breul


RM: Keiyona, your pieces exhibit esthetically appealing ornaments as well as forms that evoke memories of atrocities. *Ornamentation and Crime” - how can these notions be associated with your work?

KS: Ornamentation is a big part of my work, atrocity not at all. In addition to the beauty of organic-physical, ornamental stylistic design, my pieces express a sense of vulnerability. To me, this is also an aspect of everything that is alive; it is a part of the wide range of (physical) sensations, as well as joy and beauty. Ultimately, the shapes I chose refer to internal processes. In his writing “Ornamentation and Crime” from 1908, Adolf Loos calls the decorations or “other artistic creative attempts” on an everyday object inappropriate, unnecessary and barbaric. This statement, though, which he made in the same writing, I find more interesting: “The desire to embellish one’s face and everything else that is within one’s reach is the very beginning of fine arts. It is the babbling of the art of painting. All art is erotic.” Here, he draws connections between ornamentation, creating art, and a sensuality that is palpable.


RM: We talked about Gunther von Hagens in contrast to the anatomical collection in Florence: How did you get to your current forms and colors?


KS: I have always been fascinated by anatomical representations and images that display the interior of the body. The human body and its inner structure are masterpieces themselves, and the various organs and functions interact with each other in such an incredibly perfect way that we are kept alive. What at first seems to be repulsive or disgusting, unfolds enormous beauty when taking a closer look. I think that everything we perceive is subject to our own personal interpretation, and that often depends on the point of view we adapted in the course of our upbringing. Only a few things we can observe in a truly unbiased manner. I was really fascinated by the 17th century wax replicas, which I saw a few years ago at the Museum of Natural History in Florence. Especially the naturalistic, life-size replica of a woman lying on a red velvet pillow with a golden rim, her long hair open, as was her abdomen, with each organ carefully arranged next to her. For me, this depiction of the body’s interior beauty was far more skillful and appropriate than Gunther von Hagen’s body cabinets.  In my work I often tried to find the exact moment between fascination and disgust, between beauty and sloppiness, the point where it literally gets under your skin.


CB: One may assume that the form and color structures of your pieces are the fortuitous effect of craftsmanship: intended “coincidence”? How important are choice of materials and texture in your work?


KS: Choice of material and texture are essential in my work. The foundation of each piece is always the material I use. I decide upon it depending on how easily it can be morphed and transformed into different physical states; for example, plaster, wax, plastic or plastic foils, and glass. I am always exploring each material’s own range of possible forms, and through heating it, liquefying it or other procedures I reveal them. Depending on each material’s specific qualities and how it can be combined with other materials, an individual form is created in the working process. That form then unfolds a life of its own, either as a sculptural piece, a widespread wall sculpture or an installation. Thus, I use the specific momentum of the material to find the form, but I also intervene by specifically applying sculptural techniques. However, oftentimes these techniques are so closely related to the properties of the material, that one cannot distinguish them from the random deformations. The artwork then seems like a momentary picture of a dynamic process, in which forms arise and perish again.

bottom of page