The sculpture “The Thinker” in the river is the result of a multi-layered
conceptually elaborated idea.
I did this work exactly 10 years ago and it was by no means my intention to implement
Rodin’s ingenious masterpiece “The Thinker” lightly and, as it might seem, sarcastically.
Rodin’s original sculpture is in the upper part of his monumental work “the gate to hell”, originated
from the work “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri.
The thinking human being who fundamentally identifies with himself and connects with his body, with his environment, in the permanent process, indeed in an almost flowing process of thinking. Thinking may appear to us as a purely mental process, nevertheless I am convinced that we “think” with our whole body and the brain summarizes this thinking and thus it becomes conscious to us. For me thinking is a kind of digestion, an absorbing, decomposing, assigning and also excreting process.
I also see thinking as a process as a superordinate sense. Stimuli are grasped by it, categorized, emotionalized, learned and formulated in their realization to thoughts.
First, concepts have to be installed and this begins in early infancy. At the age of 6 to 18 months the identification with oneself develops.
We connect with our body, detach ourselves from the unity, in the normal case, of our mother and from then on we begin to process all events from this perspective.
Our I-feeling, our I-exist-feeling consciously builds up this identification from the entry into the mirror stage. Cyclical expansion starting from the very own I = body identity leads us to the next circles, the family, the environment, the friends, the region, the nationality, the continent etc. In the same way, ideologies, psychic-spiritual orientations belong to this field of identity, such as religions, sciences, professions in general, etc.
So why this installation of a PVC sheet plastic of the thinking man sitting on a toilet bowl floating in the river?
For me, the key to freedom lies below identification, because identity inevitably creates a boundary, a spiritual bubble, something that separates me, the I, from everything, from the true nature of the world.
Everything we experience, think and do, or vice versa, is based on this illusion.
When I personally had the experience to lose this I-identification, an „IT“ appeared, a feeling of absolute presence and connectedness, a dissolution of the
separation. Everything becomes One and the One becomes Everything one could say.
Clearly, I am aware today that any attempt at an explanation would end right there on that island. The PVC shell of this plastic offers a certain permeability, an artificiality, but also seclusion, which for me conveys this semblance of the principle of identity. Our I is like an island, it separates itself, even if it is naturally connected to everything else below the water.
If you wanted to leave this island, in reality nothing would stand in your way, nothing would hinder you, except what you are used to be and the question why you should want such a thing at all.
For me, thinking is a structure-forming or structure-dissolving liquid tool for the maintenance of this identity in its entire scope. However, it does not offer any final solution and therefore no release from the mental bondage to finiteness.
One cannot free oneself from its identity by thinking and therefore one remains in the judgment. That means nothing else than that from the perspective of a part the whole can never be comprehendable, because one is contained in it.
In order to experience the whole, it requires the dissolution of all its identities and thus attachments.
The only way to experience the whole is to go within. Meditation is a process that leads us to the center, to the center of movement and rest, to meet what lies behind the veil, what lies behind what appears to us. The thinker is therefore a tragic figure, because all his thinking is built on the foundation of his identity, and so he drifts on the idea of time and space, in the reflection of this illusion.
From the center springs the river