George Steinmann

george steinmann

"We are confronted with a spectacular shift in perception, with a new image of the world,
in which art is trying to find its place."
George Steinmann

about the work

Materials (indicators) were collected and produced by the artist following the theme of biodiversity, prevention, and therapy; plant juices (nettle, blueberry, fern), mistletoe, pollen, honey, color samples of plants on paper, pine resin source substance, and text.

Swiss artist, musician, and researcher, George Steinmann, is one of the most influential international designers working on sustainable development. He is convinced that art can provide answers to the great challenges of the Anthropocene. Steinmann describes the alarming state of the world as an expression of a crisis of perception and alienation from nature. He sees his artistic practice as a means of exploring social, economic, and ecological connections and dependencies and making them visible with the help of aesthetic strategies. His installation, The Soul of Remedies, displays collected and self-produced materials such as plant juices, pigments, dried plants, paint samples, and drawings. The delicately balanced arrangement resembles a medieval laboratory where the secret, subtle connections of the world are explored. The visualizing of the invisible, forgotten knowledge and cultural techniques becomes immanent in the things on display. In 40 years of his work, George Steinmann has developed a specific iconography whose individual components go far beyond their purely aesthetic value. Instead, he is concerned with rediscovering the therapeutic significance of certain substances and using their symbolic power for his work. For centuries, for example, the dark purple juice of the blueberry was considered a popular remedy for strengthening eyesight and thus represents a reference to perceptual ability. Within its presentation, beeswax has a special significance. It is regarded as a miracle of nature, building material of bee colonies, and is the starting material for many applications in the medical field. Above all, however, it serves as a detoxification and communication organ, as it absorbs fat-soluble substances of all kinds and transmits the vibrations of the queen ready to swarm. Thus, the wax refers to the „bee“ as a susceptible, complex organism that is an essential indicator of ecological balance and biodiversity. In addition to the various samples, the plant juices also find a concrete application as a painting medium, for example, in the centrally placed drawing. It shows a network of relationships symmetrically arranged around two poles. The accompanying text can be read as a clear mandate for action: „Penser l‘ensemble – agir pour l‘ensemble“. In this, George Steinmann‘s concern to think in large contexts and act as a global we becomes clear.

curriculum vitae

George Steinmann (* 1950 in Bern, Switzerland) is a visual artist, musician, and researcher. His artistic practice is resarchoriented and includes research on the cultural dimension of Agenda 2030, climate change, biodiversity, and the ecology of forests and water. He lived in Finland for five years before studying painting at the Basel School of Art and Design from 1976 to 1978. From 1978 to 1980, he studied painting and African-American Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. Since 1979 he has exhibited his works worldwide in museums, galleries, and spaces such as Parrish Art Museum in New York, Kunsthalle Ziegelhütte Appenzell, Riverside Art Museum Beijing, and Kunsthaus Interlaken, Climate Conference Bonn, Kunstmuseum Krefeld, Taxispalais Innsbruck, Climate Conference in Paris, Kunstmuseum Thun, LACE Los Angeles, ERES Foundation
Munich, Center for Contemporary Art Nairs, Helmhaus Zurich, Contemporary Arts Centre Cincinnati, Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, as well as Museum of Contemporary Art Helsinki, and Max Planck Institute for Genetics in Dresden. He realized various projects in public space and was the initiator of the „Prix Thun for Art and Ethics. A Growing Sculpture“. Since 1966 he has also been active as a musician. Extensive tours and festival performances in Europe (incl. documenta 7 in Kassel) with his band and Afro-American artists such as Mike Henderson, Margie Evans, and Grammy winner Johnny Copeland. His various artistic activities have resulted in numerous publications and CDs, radio, TV, film, and video productions. He received many research mandates and teaching assignments and gave numerous lectures on art and sustainability in Europe, the USA, Mexico, India, and Asia. He has received many honors for his work, including an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy and History at the University of Bern, the Grand Culture Prize of the City of Thun, the Prix Visarte for art in public space, the Grand Prix Meret Oppenheim Federal Office of Culture of Switzerland, and the Kristian Raud Art Prize of the State of Estonia.