Article by Caitlin Eyre in Berlin // Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2016
Stefan Soravia is a German contemporary installation artist whose practice is primarily inspired by the forces of nature, mountain-based cultural practices and the utilisation of natural materials. He is one of forty internationally renowned artists who are featured in the Biennale Arte Dolomiti in the Italian Alps this summer. Although born in Germany, Soravia spent much of his youth in the Italian Alps and was greatly inspired by the natural wonders of the pristine mountain landscape.
In the 1980s, during the early years of his practice, Soravia experimented with frottage, the technique of taking a rubbing from a tactile surface as a means of beginning a new work of art. Frottage was popularised by the Surrealist German painter, sculptor, graphic artist and poet Max Ernst, who favoured the technique due to its limitless creative potential. Soravia also trained as a screen painter and graphic designer. While these works mostly focused on wood and stone structures, Soravia’s installation works primarily utilise rusted iron, conveyor belts of hard rubber and stone objects that are given a new context.
The current Biennale Arte Dolomiti features three site-specific installations of Soravia’s works: ‘Eisenblumenwald’, ‘La Pittrice di Caloria’ and ‘Anter le Bore’. The three works reflect the legend of ‘Die letzte Delibana’ (The Last Delibana), a Northern Italian saga comparable to the legends of King Arthur, which were gathered and transcribed at the end of the 19th century by Croatian author, poet and South Tyrollean folklorist Karl Felix Wolff. The legends and the corresponding artworks refer to specific geographical areas in the Dolomites, which are located close to the site of the Biennale, including the Cadore Valley, Monte Rite and the Boite river. The Biennale Arte Dolomiti offers patrons the opportunity to see Soravia’s installation works in context with their mythical and geographical origins.
Caitlin Eyre is an Australian freelance arts writer living and working in Berlin.
This article is part of our BLINK series, which introduces the practices of artists around the world. To read more BLINK articles, click here.