Cornelia Konrads is a German artist that creates Site Specific art installations out of natural materials in public spaces around the world. This piece, Passage, is installed in a forest clearing in Germany and was composed with branches, steelrope and iron.
Konrads’ work provides a fantasy depiction of the natural world around the viewer, featuring what appears to be a frozen moment in time where portions of the piece are floating in space.
“I like to challenge, what is supposed to be ‘reliable’ about reality: the laws of gravity, the solidity of walls or the ground under our feet… my installations can be seen as a filmstill, pointing backwards and forwards both temporally and spatially―an interim state, reflecting my idea of transience, passage and transformation.” – Konrads
In Passage we see a ‘filmstill’ of branches coming down from the trees around to create an opening to the forest. Following Postmodern tenants of the viewer’s experience playing a large role in work, visitors are presented with this mystical passageway inviting them to the forest world beyond, causing them to re-think the laws of gravity and nature. Constructed as a moment in time, the piece feel like a temporary opportunity for the viewer to step through the fantasy gateway, challenging their expectations and presumptions about reality. This presents an opportunity for a viewer to re-examine their relationship to the natural environment, as well as have a child-like transformation by believing in a fantasy world.
Being positioned in a German forest clearing in this manner, the piece conjures up references to fantasy adventure stories like the C. S. Lewis Novel: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A viewer can’t help but think what might lie beyond the gateway? Konrads has called upon the natural elements of the forest and ‘magically’ presented the viewer with this gravity-defying passageway. If they cross the boundary to the world beyond, will it be a magical place unlike our own? A land filled with danger and adventure of epic proportions? The viewer, faced with the imperative of ‘belief in the fantasy,’ may also be reminded of their own German fantasy novel The Never Ending Story, by Michael Ende. In this story, the same question of ‘belief in the fantasy’ is posed to the boy Bastian, who upon taking the leap of faith, is transported to the magical world of Fantastica where he has many adventures.
Konrads’ work in Passage (as well as other pieces like Moment of Decision or Twilight Passage) shows an interest in drawing upon the traditions of fantasy stories to challenge our perceptions of reality, creating a temporary opportunity of introspection to ask the question, ‘Will you believe?’