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Society and Glass

Jörg-Werner Schmidt's characteristic Slat Humans, grouped together as a "Society", form the foundation of the current plan for a large-scale installation.
The individual wooden figures stand in a square space created by four glass walls. 145 of these glass-encased figures are arranged together to produce the form of the Slat Human. 

The wooden sculptures retain a roughness and are kept in their natural state. Their wooden character is their hallmark. Rigid, without any facial expression or body language, almost hermaphroditic, three-dimensional stick figures represent the essence of human being. They provide a platform on which to project fundamental thoughts and questions, for example: "Where do we come from?" "What is our aim?"

The glass cases also form another link between the Slat Humans. Each one is presented more intensively as though on display in a glass cabinet or shop window. The exhibits cannot be touched; they're distanced even further from the observer. They appear more exotic and valuable.
By setting up the installation outside, the individual glass cases develop their own dynamic. The nature of their surface changes according to weather and light conditions. They can be covered in condensation or ice, or they produce reflections, so that each new situation gives a completely different impression of the individual figure as well as the entire group.

The glass can be interpreted as a shield as well as a barrier. The glass cases aren't sealed; they're open at the top and bottom. They create the illusion of freedom. Inside the glass space, the figures are fully moveable; their perspectives are all different. Their relationship to each other can be interpreted in many different ways.
The Slat Humans form not only a group, but also a shape, the solid outline of a single being. Every individual plays an important part. But only together do they produce the great entirety.
It is, however, impossible, to see the great entirety as a single being. The observer only sees parts of the individual elements, unless viewing the installation from a great height.

So this is more than a metaphor for human co-habitation. Observing, examining, focusing on the detail, making something transparent: this installation fulfills all of the basic requirements of applied art.

Dagmar Detlefsen 
Art Historian



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.     

Jörg-Werner Schmidt ✝