Das Volk

Since the year 2007 the artist Leo Stern is extremely fascinated by the concept „people“ and its
demographic and cultural attitude. He is regarding the organized crowd which is pressed into
a strictly system and observes all its hierarchic systems.
How could the subject „people“ reach over all borderlines and at the same time support the
individual identity? Who is deciding and separating the mass into insiders and outsiders,
majority and minority? Is there any chance for individuality or is there anybody equal belonging
to anunidentified mass? And when the mass becomes finally dangerous? Instead of real models
and constructions of governments Leo Stern is searching for strong symbols by building perfect
technical and artificial sculptures.
His series of thirty ants is produced out of 1450 single pieces and is over 27 meters long like
a synonym for a scary scenario. In this sense he isn´t a traditional sculptor but his ambiance is
more to build scenes and pictures in a three dimensional and very expressive way. He uses
a semitransparent and chromed plastic surface to provoke a contrast in between the inner and
outer shape with virtual dynamism. This innovative synthetic materials looks like metal but has
almost a different painted surface which gives at the same time this cloned army of ants a
single individual shape.
But under the conform mass there are although several disturbing outsiders which are climbing
into another direction. In his giant appearance of his sculptural mass Leo Stern creates a work
which is not a very sympathic symbol. Therefore he is dealing with ants instead of bees which
would be more attractive. Even in literature and fairy tales bees are the most popular animals.
To use animals to visualize the definition „Volk“ is even more helpful.
It is interesting that nowadays the modern society is not dealing with the vocabulary „Volk“
because it seems to be old-fashioned, traditional and to nostalgic. Every word combined
and associate with folk is used very seldom because it is difficult to identify each other with
this subject.
Especially the German people have separated there vocabulary concerning everything with
folk or subject „Volk“ before the reunification. In the two different German states for example
„Volksarmee“ (public army) was used in the former German Democratic Republic and
„Volksbegehren“ which is a special democratic law, was only used in the Federal Republic
of Germany. The „Human mass“ like the German expressionist writer Ernst Toller describes
in his novel has always be ready for a revolution but shouldn´t participate in wars.
Leo Sterns´ strong sculptures materialize a static definition of „Volk“ to break it and help
to combine it with an artificial environment. He is an innovative creative head who is as
open to science and politics as he is to the contemporary art world.

Christina Wendenburg
DAS VOLK, Leo Stern, Basel 2008, Photo: Tom Fecht