Eröffnungsrede des Museum Lothar FischerEröffnungsrede des Museum Lothar Fischer

Opening speech of Wieland Schmied from 19 June 2004

“An artist, who hated imitation”

A few days before the grand opening of his own Museum, which is dedicated to his life’s work, and to which he was looking forward, Lothar Fischer died after a short, but serious illness. We, who knew about the illness of our colleague, had hoped so much that he could still experience this day, however much he would have been handicapped, to be amongst us here. When we have to say goodbye to him, then the existence of this museum, in which so many of his important works are gathered, alone tells us: His work will remain, in these works he will live on, and will continue to stay with us.
I will now read the text, which I prepared for today long before Lothar Fischer’s death, but in knowledge of his illness the way I wrote it because there was nothing to take back or alter. While looking through the manuscript, I only had to change some of the present tense forms to past tense forms to maintain the logic.
Even if the work of Lothar Fischer will not find a continuation anymore: What was created once cannot be taken from us. This is the meaning of the museum.
Several years ago, there was an exhibition at the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, of which Lothar Fischer has been a proper member since 1991. “I draw what cannot be photographed”, was the title our architect-member Fritz Kurrent gave to his assemblage of drawn city panoramas, which were all more than verdute and seemed rather like visions of an ideal existing condition; maybe here and there they were adjured as somewhat utopic amended cityscapes. Lothar Fischer’s answer to the title of this exhibition with the following presentation of his works – a series, in which the academy members give their friends a glimpse into their workshops – with the programmatic title: “I draw what cannot be seen.”
I believe this title can stand for the entire work of Lothar Fischer. However, it does need an explanation. What is meant by: “what cannot be seen”. Where can’t one see? – we may ask. In reality, in the actual world with its formations originated from nature? Certainly this must be meant. Because Lothar Fischer’s artistic work is not invisible, does not want to be invisible, does not border invisibility like certain ideas of concept art, unloved by Lothar Fischer. In the world of art, in the world of manmade works, what Lothar Fischer brought forth as a drawer and a sculptor, visualized in a particularly insistent manner when we have seen it, has been burnt emphatically into our memory.
It is also several years ago, when Lothar Fischer, who we have come to know in the academy as a rather quiet colleague with a sometimes deliberate, well thought-through position, surprised me with a volume of refreshing, free-spirited note with the title: “On Art from a Sculptural Perspective” [the title should have better been: “from the view of a sculptor”, but it is tedious to fight about the title of a book after so many years].
Lothar Fischer argues from a point of view of modernism being understood from its origins, which can be the only true modernism against all fashions and commercialism. Above all, he continuously holds a Philippic against imitation, against imitation in all its various manifestations. Imitation is always thoughtless imitation, no matter if it is imitation of nature – like in the academic practice of nude drawings – or if it is imitation of art viewed as commendable distinguished, as classically sanctioned. Lothar Fischer is the epitome of anti-classical; he sees a basic form of modernism in the anti-classical. Create, not copy, was his motto, not to look for the imitation of nature, but for other forms, for forms that suggest a new beginning.
Lothar Fischer spoke in the name of invention, more precisely: finding. The artist, as he understands the word, and the way he was himself, has to create out of his own depth, has to trust his own talent to find figures, has to work without an example, has to find the form in himself. Then the artist becomes himself and therefore new. Such newness does not have anything to do with the demand for innovation. Lothar Fischer has despised this demand –by no means all its results – as modern.
As a sculptor, Lothar Fischer has created much of which could be found in excavations. Much of which he found in himself seems at first glance as if it is a find from a distant, long forgotten past, as if it were an idol from far away epochs. One is reminded of Pablo Picasso’s words, whose sculptural work was much loved and admired by Lothar Fischer – Picasso said, when he opened the usually closed doors to the depot of his sculptures from more than half a century to Werner Spies: “It is as if one discovers an unknown culture.”
A small breath from protohistory, from the awareness of an endless beginning before all history, is in the work of Lothar Fischer. New art often goes a long way back. But also modernism is not to be denied. We not only find it in Lothar Fischer’s complete understanding of modernity on the origins of all sculptural making, on the so called primitive or archaic art, on the world of the Assyrians, Sumerians, Hittites, Etruscans, on the art of the Cyclades and the old Mexicans, we also find it in the deliberate fragmentation of many sculptures, and fragmentation means if understood correctly: something that has remained over time, that has withstood epochs, that has resisted history, that has been hurt, that has scars, that has lost fragments, but has stayed complete within its character, and which has the suggestive power to become whole again in our awareness. The graphic and watercolor works of Lothar Fischer seem explicitly modern; here the memory of earlier incantations of the human form are combined with the graphic simplification, in which some of the knowledge of magic powers still lives on. Every form seems as if wrung from chaos.
It is no wonder then that Lothar Fischer loves chaos – chaos as origin of new orders – since he was a friend of Asger Horn, the great Danish cofounder of the COBRA-Group and spiritus rector of the Munich artists collective SPUR, one of the most important artists collectives of rebellious young artists in early post-war Germany. Asger Jorn often spoke of Chaosmos, to give expression to his opposition all things classical and, therefore, frozen – not just in the area of art – revolting feeling expression. In line with “COBRA” and “SPUR” we are allowed to ask while taking a look at Lother Fischer’s work, if Chthonic powers are expressed through it, which stem from the earth’s inner core, and now pyrogenously – like lava during a volcanic eruption – are pushed to the world’s light and occupy the sculptor’s hand, in order to manifest itself – and the sculptor has no choice, but to give these powers form.
Enough of the metaphors, to which Lothar Fischer’s work seduced us, which now have found their permanent space in this wonderful new venue. The Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts is proud of its member Lothar Fischer. He is the third amongst us sculptor members, who is honored today – after Fritz Koenig in the Landshuter Hofberg and Alf Lechner in Ingolstadt – by receiving their own sculptural œuvre. We bow down to Lothar Fischer and his life’s work and congratulate the City of Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate for this magnificent Museum – as well as for the content, which it holds.