60 seconds from David Eisenhauer’s solo show with Galleri Duerr, by Ragnar Lidin.
David Eisenhauer’s aptitude for texture and geometry is based on seven years of architectural studies at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and Princeton University in the US where he took a Masters of Fine Arts. In 1969, he left the United States, settled in Sweden and began working with an architect studio designing schools and public buildings. In the early seventies, Eisenhauer began experimenting with sculpture and painting in ways that reflected his enduring love of geometry, structure and the dynamics of unfolding visual experience. With his feet firmly planted in the Bauhaus tradition, David also drew upon his interest in Russian Constructivism, Art Deco and Dadaism as well as more recent movements like Minimalism and Postmodern architecture.
Always on the lookout for new ideas and materials to explore, his career has concentrated on the sculptural and relatively small-scale possibilities of a number of ‘additive’ construction methods, where the elements of play and trial and error are exploited – along with the sometimes positive surprises of pure chance. Combining simplicity and complexity in visually exciting, suggestive ways have always been the hallmark of Eisenhauer’s work.
In the small mill town in Pennsylvania where David grew up, nobody really understood what an architect was, at least not in his surroundings. Early memories are of a carpenter in the family and the building blocks and construction sets he played with.
– Already as a boy I liked houses and rooms and building but I had no concept of architecture as such and no direct role models. I was lucky to have good teachers at school who inspired me, seeing that I had an aptitude for math and drawing and who took the time to encourage me. A career counselor suggested a career in architecture and a entire new world opened to me during my university studies.
David’s studio is located a half floor down on Skeppargatan in Östermalm, bathed in light where square reliefs, none identical to the other – defy the rules of nature on surface tension, allowing the material to rule.
– In these works I stretch layer upon layer of wires and twine on a framework, after which I add a paint mixture combined with putty and hardening glue. Chance determines the pattern up to a certain limit, but I control the ground rules.
– In this particular piece, I have used piano wire that I put in plaster, pulling the wires out of the plaster as it is drying to produce a sense of stone. I test my way forward – plaster hardens rather quickly. It is nature’s complexity, both the simple and the complex at the same time. Here I have used packing wires of various thicknesses. A stain mixed with alcohol and water is absorbed by the spackle and glue, but again I decide to what extent. Each drying period is overnight.
I can not help but tell you about my son who as a teenager decided to become a civil engineer, how he searched for role models and inspiring adults but capitulated in experimenting with images on the computer, as so many young people today. Would he and his friends continue to do so if they actually got the chance to get their hands dirty in an artist’s studio?
– Creativity needs to be developed and encouraged from an early stage and I have therefore made three different prototypes of building materials for children. David takes up three specially designed boxes with colorful building components in different shapes and colors – each with it’s own characteristic. He hopes to take up the fight for attention with the digital world.
– I have difficulty with the digital – it is just that there is something fundamentally wrong with it. You are not there. Not really, even though of course you can do very good things with the computer. There is so much happening and it goes so fast! In the long run, I think it is something we will have to pay a high price for if we do not find a sustainable balance.
David himself has a daughter whose sugar cube castle ended up in the Guinness World Book of Records.
– For me, it must be abstract – I have no interest in depicting things realistically. Flat surfaces do not interest me. I am attracted by the three dimensional space one can enter or go around. I want to build and construct. I have always been fascinated by space but have never had the desire to travel to Mars or to even land on a meteor. There are those who need the money more. However, I do enjoy astronomic photography.
“Simplicity and complexity, as every scientist knows, are but two sides of the same coin. That which appears to be uncomplicated can be, in fact, amazingly complex, and vice versa. Artists sometimes address this same duality. In our efforts to make the world a bit more comprehensible, we give form and substance to an often bewildering diversity.
The works have evolved from my conviction that art reflects our deepest feelings and conjectures about the nature of the cosmos and our relationship to it. We all express our values and aspirations through our actions and the artifacts we produce. In so doing, some form of simplification, i.e. a structure, system or ordering principle, is usually imposed on an otherwise overwhelming amount of information and possibilities.
This reduction process often denies, limits or inhibits diversity in the name of convenience, control or economy” – David Eisenhauer
Hans Mörner writes the following on David’s retropective exhibition at Galleri Duerr which included a selection of works from David’s various ‘periods’ where his adventures into the visual possibilities of three-dimensional form, color, scale, movement and material provided a revealing roadmap of his artistic ambitions and intentions.
”David Eisenhauer odlar inte spontaniteten hur mycket han än älskar det spontana. Han ägnar sig tvärtom, tror jag, oupphörligt åt att söka uppnå det eftertraktade i en gjuten form – att formge sin eftertraktelse; en slags bemästrande av de stridande krafter som ofta inom konsten släpps lösa på gott och ont; att göra sig fri inom de proportioner som motsvarar den gudomliga harmonin; att finna och förhålla sig trogen sin skala. Hans senaste fas Strängtavlorna, äger trots hundratals meter spänd pianotråd hit och dit , ett lugn, en frusen harmoni, som blottlagda dissektionsytor, tonsatta iskristaller. Naturen – det naturliga – låter sig ana ”before somebody came along and told you you had to earn a living”.
For a private showing of available work in David Eisenhauer’s studio on Skeppargatan,
please contact Deborah Duerr at 070-307 34 32.
Available work on Artsy
Film from the Sime conference featuring David’s sculptures on stage.