ACT: A look at your vita reveals a widely involved personality. You studied house building, German linguistics and history, before you landed at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, as a scholar of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Since then you are working as a painter, sculpturist, as an interios designer and, and, manifold as ever. What has you led to become an artist?
KHS: Way back, I was about to accept an assignment as a high school teacher, at some place in Upper Austria, but I felt rather uneasy, inside I was heading for something else. Although I was yet not too involved in art, I realised, my inner monologue was in fact a dialogue, in a language, I had to learn: When I thought of the art, in particular painting, I felt happy, but when I thought of this well paid, secure teacher job, I got depressed. This hot-cold shower went on for months , before I understood its message. But still, I wasn’t ready to jump head over heels into the art, I even took a new course in art education, until Herr Hundertwasser lost his temper and simply threw me into the art, irrevocably.
ACT: What would you like to achieve with your work?
KHS: I want to learn more about form, pure, clear, clean form. As a human being I am curious to discover this ultimate art work called man and what is beyond his ever changing outer appearance. I like to become more responsive to these "first" thoughts instant inner sights that come up in any situation, get rid from all the debris of past experience that distorts everything we see. You see I don't really want to cause something, I am more interested in the cause. I simply want to "be", live intuitively. This is what art taught me and still does. There was no distinctive purpose to live the life of an artist. I was rather summoned from inside and I followed. Yet there is both, a cause and something to cause: I want to be able to let be what wants to be. Do you follow me? Maybe my work can encourage others to look at their own creativity and even further, to develop it. For me this means using it consciously learning from it, applying it properly, not only in art or any other craft but in our everyday life. I Know this can release tremendous joy and also a great deal of understanding ourselves. When we live creatively we will see how this changes our life. But truly I can't validate my work nor do I know what it causes what is the reason behind it. I simply see my work as a given task to explore the phenomena of light with the tools of art, light as the source of form and matter.
ACT: Which of your works were most important to you, works you would grant they are worth every effort.
KHS: Which works were most important to me? Certainly my very firt ones, because at that point you start something totally new, it's the beginning of a journey. I remember this glass window I wa to make for Ms obczak, a dedicated doctor. She wanted me to transform a bible quote into an image "Look Yee first for the kingdom of God and everything else will be given unto you". My goodness, who am I to deal with such great words? I had no idea what to do about it. Besides, I wa and still am rather weak in abstraction. For month nothing happened, nothing at all. I was desperate and eventually I even gave up thinking about it. But shortly after to my complete surprise a clear concept arose all of a sudden totally enexpected. This was a new experience to me. On such an occasion you learn that we are not "creating" anything, we are rather "receiving" a gift, are led to let it happen, like a midwife. This became a major aspect of my work. I feel my work more as a kind of listening, conceiving. Iam more a receiver than a maker, although I have learned that in almost all major works there was a concise personal development behind it. Personal changes trigger new works and vice versa, it's a dialog. Besides of my "babies" it was a project at the hospital of Bad Ischl in Upper Austria that became a major challenge for me. Unlike in the past I experienced a new feeling of responsibility being trusted to me. After all I was most gifted to learn here a lot of concerted efforts from so many creative source I welcomed and accepted for the first time. I suppose those works are most valuable to me where I can work with others especially in architectural applications where I see myself like an instrument that combines beauty with the needs of others. To me this is not a noble idea it's a necessity.
ACT: What in your view gives a work its value?
KHS: Wheter something is valuable one can only see in the eyes of the recipient. What does she, he feel about it? Of course I am happy about the many positive reactions I have received; they show me this work was successful, but I also welcome practical criticism , they show me where to continue learn from both. But there is also my own subjective feeling that helps me to see the outcome and the personal value it has for me. This often comes as an unexplainable joy, a feeling of accordance, easiness when all this searchingf for the right form, the right tone of color comes to an end and all those queries of wheter there is something still missing. When all this ceases a relaxing quietness takes over. Then I know the job is done, complete, accomplished. At the hospital I usually started quite early arround five o'clock long before the workers showed up with all their machinery. This gave me time to attune to my work, to contemplate that these pictures might carry pure messages of healing and thus help to create a healthy atmosphere for the patients there who suffer from multiple sclerosis. However this work was by no means a one man show. It involved so many people: friends, workers, the taff of the hospital, the patients, the managment. I was so happy to see these people participated so creatively.
ACT: What comes next? What else would you like to achieve?
KHS: More creativity in communication, more freedom to let life speak itself beyond our personal limitations. This implies reaching more people getting linked to a greater community maybe an artist community where one can freely share his talents and resources with others where one becomes a virus a creative retro-virus that intoxicates others. To experiment with light and space bringing light into dark space there I can see a direction for me. How can a tiny room become great, comfortable, useful? How can a dark hole transmute into a lightful inspiring "Lebensraum"? There are so many options withinthe arts which I like to explore. But most of all I love to explore this Gesamtkunstwerk "man" even further though this may well be a life long story.
ACT: Karl-Heinz thank you for this interviewFor more information about the artist contact A.C.T. under www.jmagallery.com or see the artists homepage www.karlheinzschreiner.at or www.khschreiner.bplaced.net