I created my first Slat Human in the cellar of my home in Tutzing, Bavaria in 1990.
An idea fed by my impression of other people’s art work. First the design, then the grip to the DIY-market material – the slat - which I cannot explain, and I do not want to, either.
Then I built six more, creating a group of seven Slat Humans.
It was the first ”Society“, but as yet had no name.
With these seven Slat Humans, I went public immediately with exhibitions in Tutzing and Munich.
Later the group of Slat Humans grew and appeared in many places:
Humans in their surroundings.
Imprinted by their origin and their aim.
An aim that they seldom achieve.
Humans are seemingly goal-oriented,
often embarking on their way to that goal
with wilful behaviour.
My work is intended to encourage
people to perceive
the degree of their own, social co-ordination.
To accept it or to alter it.
SOCIETY began to tour in Mecklenburg, Lower Saxony, Lake Constance, Frankfurt am Main, the Eifel, Switzerland, Austria, Hamburg, Australia and Denmark. To date, exhibited at 22 locations.
Mostly built on location from native softwood, pine, spruce or larch. It has something to do with identity. From 24/48 mm slat, with a rough-saw finish, cut in the frame-saw, untreated. Nailed, screwed, glued. Fitted on the outside with steel feet to give good stead in the ground. In wind, rain, snow, ice, the heat and the cold.
Although the Slat Humans are built similarly out of various materials, the particular installation communicates different messages. By grouping similar individual sculptures differently, the effect of the installation changes according to the surrounding, public space or landscape.
I keep getting back to the theme of Slat Humans again and again, developing new ideas, letting the idea grow. An enthralling and stimulating interplay.
Regardless of place and time, SOCIETY always demands communication. Between the observer, the artwork and the artist. This communication has a broad range from approval to rejection.
I always return to my work with the Slat Humans, sometimes more often than others.
New materials such as glass and metal have been incorporated into the latest design for the SOCIETY. It creates a manifold image of the SOCIETY and the Slat Human, tho be watched standing and lying, and replicated.
What is it supposed to be, what is it going to show and say? Certainly, something different to every observer.
Is art the last freedom in our society? Only opening itself up to the ideals of the individual?
We'll live to see it, whenever, wherever and however.
Jörg-Werner Schmidt, in May 2009