H. N. Semjon

The structural principle of "Unity in Difference"

In the beginning of the nineties, my artistic position of parallel works developed through my stay in New York from November 1991 to April 1994. The conceptual construction of Unity in Difference/Einheit in der Differenz allowed me to bring different interests and talents to expression. Next to the classical fields of visual art, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, objects, installation and photography, there is the division into groups, which distinguish themselves in the mode of artistic approach (see visualization).

I’ve solved for myself the old fight between rationality and emotion, spontaneity and planar continuity in parallel works through the systematization in different work groups. It is the attempt to prevent chaos that would without doubt come through. For years my preferred working material has been beeswax, which offers different possibilities of working, because it is diversely changeable through the three aggregations lying very close to one another. The bleached beeswax is very sensitive to dust. It requires a system of protection, which offers me, at the same time, colors to mark the different workgroups. Therefore, there forms a structure of inner and outer, through the differentiation of red, blue and black (and other colors) from one another. The colored protective forms and order-giving bodies fuse with the actual work to one whole.

The "Blue Group" represents the pure conceptual, minimal and abstract character of my work. The idea of calmness, refutation, protection and conservation is to be understood as a questioning of the loud and aggressive consumer, advertising, and communications world. Through the individual treatment of the products with bleached beeswax and the working over of a semi-transparent, painterly layer of separation, the 'loud' object becomes quieted, the banality distanced and resolved, transferred into a new reality, signifying individuality and contemplation, letting a sculpture form out of the trivial thing. The "Product Sculptures" (page 19-22), the "Product Paintings", the "Ad Paintings" as well as the installations like "Kiosk" (page 26-28) and "Deli/Grocery" (page 61) belong to this work group.

The "Red Group" is the attempt to reach the more purely emotional areas of our lives: love, sexuality, violence, upbringing (rearing, childhood) and history are the leitmotifs. The methodology grants the 'out-of-the-heart-into-the-work' a larger position of value. They are non-mediated because more direct. To this belong the "Frame Paintings" (page 40), the "Shield Paintings", the "Icon Paintings", the "Erotic Paintings" and the "Album Paintings" (page 41-43). "Animals in Torso" (page 45), the "Myth Figures", the "Metamorphosis Figures" and the "Private Souvenirs" represent sculptures as well as objects in the workgroup. The "Army of Clones", "Bloody Babies" (page 47) and "Flying Babies" are installations belonging to this group.

The "Black Group" offers the possibility to work out from the corporeality of the materials and their power of association. Here I can experiment with the work‘s material and playfully compose. My finished drawings, collages and photographs are also further examined through a reworking. The "Eclectic Figures" as objects, the Mixed Media Series works, the "Structural Paintings", and "Berlin Paintings" (page 34-38) and "Portrait Paintings" (page 30-33) can be mentioned here as examples.

My drawings are also in groups; the series are respectively titled: the "Triplets", the "Tableaus" and the "Structural Combinations" (page 49-50), the "Structural Constitutions" (drawing and photography) and the "Structural Drawings" (page 51-54) as well as the "Baustellen Drawings" (page 39). It interests me to work out the possibilities of drawing and the consequential results by letting confrontation in opposition enter in.

Photography is also represented in my work complex. Above all here should be mentioned the group of self-referential works, which start out from works already realized by me. So single works, for example "Product Sculptures", different wax paintings and the installations, serve as the foundation for artistic photography (page 25-28, 32, 38).

Also, when I begin a work from a different work concept, the three human states of being are always to be found in the results: the intellect, the body as well as the emotions. The systematic classification is a result of my handicap, of being unable and unwilling to concentrate on one workgroup. I need diversity, because it corresponds to my nature. The developed structural principle of "Unity in Difference/Einheit in der Differenz" helps me to expand my different talents, to push my work to the front and to keep from sinking into chaos.

My sculptural drawing "Black Box" (page 57) from 1990/91 had already anticipated what I only later began to peel away at: the parallel works. This work is an important link between my earlier searching and my present findings.

The "White Group" (since 1991) and the "Golden Group" (since 1996) are not mentioned here.

Translation by Scott Budzynski

All references to pages refer to the catalog, published by Vice Versa Verlag, Berlin, also available here as a PDF file (4,3 MB).