Osculum, suavium, basium . . . even Latin, which is better-known as being a language for administrative purposes rather than as a language for love –with the exception of Catull and his Carmina, of course – has several terms for the word “kiss“. After all, the fascination of this form of encounter has been cross-cultural throughout the ages. The most recent works by the 40-year-old South Tirolean sculptor Friedrich S. Feichter are also dedicated to this fascination. It would seem that after his long-lasting Homines Solares or Sun People phase, the artist is devoting himself to a theme which is at first astonishing, but which actually follows a thematic path. Feichter’s message is the vision of a positive coexistence between human beings and nature, and not least, between people themselves.
The new works revolve around the theme encounter, procreation, and becoming. Some of the displayed works remind one of his earlier plant sculptures, or even date from this period of time. What is most exciting, however, are the works which give the exhibition its name. At the beginning of the most recent cycle there is a large sculpture made of wood and serpentine entitled Kiss I, whose space-filling gestures escalate into just that. Feichter puts a large potential of erotic and emotional energy into the rustling, ecstatic curve which is out of wood, but which is certainly not wooden-like. This work marks the beginning of a series of “kisses“ which as wall- or floor sculptures jokingly and ironically plays with several variations. There is the Forbidden Kiss which secretly puckers its lips and reveals its fire-red inside; the innocent, pure, lily-white kiss which mimics the lightness of a dandelion; and the small kiss which springs from a solid basis and swings playfully in the air until just tiny Paloma Picasso lips are left kissing in the air. The self-ironic potential suits the sculptures because through it they, in their colorful lightness, are not kitsch. In general, the quality of Feichter’s sculptures is directly proportional to their size; the more self-confidently they take up space, the more convincing the statement is. What makes it tempting to touch these sculptures out of curiosity is the meticulous perfection with which they have been created by this sculptor.
Wood and stone merge into one another organically, and the exchange between cool stone and warm wood also reveals the emotional roller-coaster to the sense of touch. All in all, this excursion to the world of sensuousness is a good counterbalance for Feichter’s work because his spiritual Franciscan vision can take some down-to-earthiness. Harmony with nature and zest for life are not opposites.
Karin Dalla Torre