Having lived for nearly 20 years in Berlin, Germany, I had the idea to one day carry through a project like the Buddy Bears which was set up in 2002 in Berlin. In 2008 I and the team of sculptors and craftsman around me (KHSculptorGroup) started to develop the first near life size bear sculptures. Being at an important and time consuming transition process in our wine and art venture QUINTADOSVALES, I planned the culmination of this project actually for 2010 only.
In view of the sudden change of the economic environment and its consequences I decided to go ahead prematurely. Waiting might have delayed or completely stopped the project. While the driving element behind the bear project is also uniting, it is not intended to be political or educational. What shall be achieved is simply a new artistic interpretation of the term “evolution”. We show presence! And if we can give an impulse to try harder: even better. Evolution is the driving force for positive changes and vice versa and the reason why mankind has developed and develops further. The artistic interpretation of an abstract idea is never easy but we may have achieved what we were looking for.
We created mostly similar looking but still unique sculptures of unique creatures and invited 26 talented painters and mosaic artists from several countries with different nationalities and backgrounds to make their own interpretation of the theme “Evolução”. The only general guideline was to follow the theme “Evolução”. Besides this general orientation the artists have been free in their artistic expression / freedom of speech. The multicultural aspect has been an important element in the project as it proved to be mind opening and increased the spectrum of experiences. The transformation of two dimensional paintings and mosaics into three dimensional sculpture-paintings has been an exciting new experience for all participants and several artists decided during the process to do more than one or two bears! Some may even have found a new direction in which to develop their artistic skills. Further, during the exhibition tour artists and also spectators and or schools might work “live” on additional sculptures / projects. The bear sculpture as the base medium to transmit the mes-sage has been specifically chosen as it is in many aspects close to human beings. The saying “The Bear awakes in the spring after a long sleep” shows similarities to what has just happened to mankind.
Since the beginning of time bears captured man’s imagination, in many civilizations bears were often represented in art, as a symbol of strength, and capacity of adaptating to change. Mankind and art have moved on from the ancient concepts of its early ages. Many years have passed and the bear still sparkles as a symbol in modern society for is endurance, perseverance, and capacity of having adapting characteristics that we humans aspire and admire.
In most fairy tales and expressions bears are still venerated both by their physical strength and their big heart (a good example for this is the Russian Bear: very strong but nevertheless a soft heart). I have created my bears in their usual position without any specific exposure. This enables the sculptures to stay in the background and to act simply as a medium to transmit and translate the message. I personally hope that the expectations of all the participants will be achieved. It has not been an easy undertaking to start this venture but it gained such strong momentum that it was a signal for all involved that at least we have so far achieved an “evolução”. And that is what it is all about. Enjoy our work!
Karl Heinz Stock