Leonard Lorenz

Gert Ammann, Remarks to the artwork of Leonard Lorenz

It is rare, that art inspires as many senses as is the case with the sculpture of Leonard Lorenz. Be it in the encounter with the individual sculpture, the impressive atmosphere of his studio or the complex density of his exhibition: the sensitive creativity of Lorenz is always present, especially in the human and spiritual dimension of his sculpture.

The analysis of the figuration has been distinctive for Lorenz since his early works. But his sculpture today shows an independent, intensive and succinct language of forms. The artist distinguishes himself by consistently pursuing this new beginning. Through self-criticism and constant questioning he combines spiritual and human dimensions in the characteristics of his sculpture. "Transparency of Being" which he recently presented in the Klagenfurt Landrat (state parliament in Klagenfurt, Austria) is one of his latest big sculptures. Stable in itself but still open in several levels, it presents the possibilities of encounter and analysis. It symbolizes the artist's principal concept: an internal attitude is realized in the external form. This dialectic between the internal and the external enables change. Through transparency of change development becomes obvious and possible.

The sculpture "Female Torso" conveys melodious modeling, the marking of folds and ridges as a contradiction to the plasticity of the body volume. This vocabulary of forms isnoticeable also in "Woman at the Window". Space arrangement seems to be out of balance, defined almost like a thin floral shell. The female body stretches itself into the opening. Plastic forming of centre and space, of "Shell and Core" is a central theme for Lorenz. The encounter with motives becomes evident not only in the abstracted form but also in the literary note "The Reconciliation of David with Goliath". The "Resurrection" becomes the key to new dimensions. The conciseness of the physical in the breaking open of the space-shell, the endavors for the body to emerge from a complex mass manifest the struggle for integration and renewal.

For Lorenz sculpting is always an expression of humanity. In the model of a head, like "Networking", or succinct faces like "King" or "Internal View" it is "other" characteristics that impress. It is not the portrait that dominates but the interior face, something almost demon-like, unrealistic. Imperial behaviour, visionary view, reference to mask-like faces in other cultures show Lorenz's endeavor to internalize human features.

Reference to space gains dominance and appears to be obvious. The "Giant Striding" originates in a bodily structuring of the forms into individual complementing passages of the human figure and receives a new dimension in the spacious arch. The bouncing, almost dancing walk receives another optical rhythm through the swing of the connecting line. Finally the big sculpture "Focal Point" conveys the generous experience of a vehement language of images. The extreme interpretation of tension, the intensified gesture of protruding mark the distance between mass and ball. "Beyond the Horizon there is Continuation" presents a similar reference to space, a similar relation between static foundation, ball and swinging arch. This sculpture does not lose its tension in a neutral environment; its efficiency may even be enhanced in an environment of historical architecture. The large sculptures "Focus I" and "Focus II" follow this theme but are more basically dimensioned through their positioning outdoors or their relation to tectonic architecture. The spacious sculpures are of a mentally and spiritually explosive nature, that reveal the process of internal work and development. The observer experiences Lorenz's intention to visualize the tension of forms and elements in their interrelation with space. This mental analysis is the reason that his sculpture conveys a message on first impression.

One has become used to seeing Leonard Lorenz as a sculptor only. But the artist has also shown an interest in drawing, is not only a tool in the process of working on a sculpture. Paintings are even closer to him. About 1993 an internal crisis manifested itself in a redefinition of his painting. Lorenz tries to decipher inner compulsions through pictures. Titles like "Waterfall of the Soul", "Un-folding" or "Interaction" show how much Lorenz concentrates on his world of thoughts: densely painted panels, reminiscence of landscapes and nature scenes, definition of space, light and shadow…inner tension, circumstances, self-knowledge.

But back to sculpture. The "Transparency of Being" is summary of his work so far. Although Lorenz leaves the observer complete freedom of interpretation his own intention should be cited at this point: "For me the sculpture radiates clear transparency despite all formality. It shows light and shadow as well as clearly defined vertical and horizontal lines. The figure seems protective as if home in itself. It tears down the barrier between subject and object and thus creates closeness. Past and Future dissolve in the Now, the Present, in which lies all creative potential. Sense of reality and vision go together just as we breathe in and breathe out."

This breathing in and breathing out, this absorbing and processing is a necessity in the encounter with the art of Leonard Lorenz – not only a necessity but an inspiring need.

Dr. Gert Ammann
(Director of the Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck, Austria)