Volkano‘s ‘Symbolic Transformations.’
The Hamburg-based artist to talks to guest writer Helena Sokol about innocence and escapism in his recent collection of work.
Neverland never seemed too far from our reach. Promises of forever and future friendship was kept on the tip of the tongue. As our bodies blossoms and our minds expand, everything changes – for the better and worse. German artist Volkano captures the melancholy of growing up.
For many people, childhood is a magical place to get lost in memories. Everything was easy and uncomplicated, summers lasted forever, and you took in every impression as if it was vital for your existence. For others, it was complicated and difficult to carve a place out in the world where you fit. Limbs were longer than they were supposed to, friends were hard to get by and nobody understood you – sometimes it was even worse. No matter the position on the spectrum, I think everybody has memories that are soft-edged with age, with some degree of bliss and comfort, whether it was an intimate moment getting lost in a book, or connecting with a parent.
While some people stay youthful on the inside, others long for maturity and leaving jejunity – but no matter what, childhood and adolescence lays the foundation for the rest of your life in some way or other.
Volkano (1981) was born in Herford, Germany and lived there until he was 12, where he moved to Turkey, where his family originally hails from. He is blessed with a family of liberal Democrats, where politics and religion never dominated the house, and relations were good throughout.
“I remember everything of my childhood.”
The softness of every shape, the sweet scent in the wind, the endless time, everything that we lose when we become adults. From these emotions, I find my imagery of children being forced to get adult by running through strange rituals.
He has always been drawing ever since he was a kid and found endless joy by doing it. This interest lead him to study graphic design in Hamburg, where he still lives. Despite the passion in the field, it wasn’t before he heard the word “contemporary art”, that it dawned on him.
“Suddenly, I realized that I could make my living by painting all day, whatever I want, without going to work. This was like Peter Pan finding Neverland. So, I started to learn on my own how to paint in oil, refine my technique and define my storytelling by finding out the quintessence of what moves my emotions.”
This thought – never working – is something that I think every adult has a desire to, but logic and life tell you to put aside. It will never work; we have mortgage and bills to pay, and food doesn’t buy itself; and what about all the time you would have even if you had money, wouldn’t you feel useless or bored? While children swear never to work as a principle, adults dare not even think about what would happen if they didn’t feel fulfilled through their work. What happens in the meanwhile, between youth and adulthood?
Institutionalization happens. Educational structures are there to make sure you have the knowledge to successfully incorporate you into the world in all its functions.
“It starts with the primary school where they teach you how to function in society in the most effective way.”
You learn how to read the clock, that there is a time and time goes by, which means you have to hurry. You have to grow up fast and there is no more time to enjoy childhood. This process runs through childhood and adolescence. Your mind makes a change and this change is what I try to capture. I display it as an initiation ritual to another grade, the grade of adulthood.
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