ABOUT MY SCULPTURES - THE THERAPEUTIC BACKGROUND OF MY SCULPTURES:
Many of my sculptures, like the artworks of many other artists, are externalizations of feelings, symptoms and situations - from my own history or from the ones of my clients that I have internalized - stories which affect me, make pictures come up in me and which I then convert three-dimensional. This way conscious, unconscious and preverbal topics get expressed. This process is therapeutic for the artist, for me in two ways :
Firstly, because the creative process and the forming in clay itself is a healing process and secondly because by externalizing one can understand a lot better what happened.
The “Extern – alisation” takes place in the “verbal” psychotherapy in words: you “speak it out”. In art you can externalize it through a picture, a sculpture, etc. Many famous artists have processed their experiences this way - think, for example, of Frida Kahlo who has processed her accident and its consequences in her art.
Because if we have a feeling or an event visible in mind, our visual perception channel is also activated and we can thereby perceive better on another level, realize, understand and accept. Perhaps even recognize new aspects and communicate more easily about them. Because only if I have accepted what has happened, deep inside of me, can I change, forgive and finally find peace and healing.
Now one can of course say: Great for the artist that he / she processed his/her subjects this way. But what do I, as a viewer, have to do with this?
The mirror neurons help! Mirror neurons are neurons in the brain which cause the same pattern of activity come up in our brains while watching something, as they would occur if we would actually perform this move (actively) ourselves not merely watch (passively). This means that what we see makes a mirror neuron cause the same pattern of activity in our brain which the active performance would cause too. So the viewer can “actively” reproduce the process while watching something happen. One could therefore say that the artist takes away some of the viewer´s work! The artist prepares the issues, so that the viewer can enter directly into the manufacturing process - if he wants to. This means if a sculpture makes contact with you, triggers a reaction inside of you, you may be wondering what this may have to do with you and, if you want, get to the bottom of it.
For example you might feel attracted to a sculpture like the " sulky boy” , if you sometime did not get what you wanted and became defiant.
Or to the “Nail biting” , because you used to bite your nails when you were unsure or nervous.
Perhaps there were "more violent things" and you hurt yourself ,
you were a victim of violence, ,
sexual abuse and were perhaps even at the mercy of the groups ,
or you got bullied .
If you have experienced anything like this or were confronted with it, it may hurt to see such sculptures. My intention is, however, as I already said, to help the viewer with his/her process of acceptance and healing. Like this a lot of sculptures have already led to new levels of communication as the aggrieved party often felt mirrored and well understood.
But which benefit do unaffected observers have? They should be made aware of the problems others face, reservations should be reduced and they should be motivated to intervene actively and support those in need of help. The sculptures are intended to help reduce misunderstanding, insecurity and rejection by people in the vicinity of the persons concerned. For this reason, I was very happy about my invitation to become an ambassador of the Foundation Respect child's soul. A foundation in which three associations (German Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (DGKJP), the "Professional Association of Physicians for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry , Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy in Germany eV" (BKJPP) and the "Federal Association of Senior Hospital Physicians for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and psychotherapy" (BAG) are represented. The goal of this foundation is to actively stand in for the mental health of children and teenagers and establish appropriate programs and projects to support them - more information on www.achtung - kinderseele.org .
I often use my sculptures in THERAPY SESSIONS to ILLUSTRATE a situation.
Here is an example of the "victimization" of a boy .
I encourage the affected person to imitate the attitude of this sculpture, to describe the sculpture´s details and then we reflect the induced feeling which the person has gotten together.
I also invite them to take the opposite position, the "perpetrator attitude" .
"Perpetrators" who put up with nothing. On one hand it is often very surprising for the teenagers how much of an impact just their different position of their body can have on their emotional state - head lowered, shoulders in front, knees together, one-legged stand versus fine head, secure footing and a strong upper body. On the other hand, it is sometimes surprising to me that some teenagers´ muscles are already fixed in their victimhood so that they can not put their shoulder backwards and down – their muscles are already that much shortened.
When I work with the technique of the FAMILY BOARD (a technique from systemic therapy) where one usually uses stones or neutral figures to represent other persons, I occasionally provide my sculptures to take these places.
Thus, special characters and situations can be represented even better and the FAMILY BOARD takes on a new dimension and intensity.
When the topics of PROXIMITY- DISTANCE or DETACHMENT and letting go come up in a FAMILY DISCUSSION,
I often use the following sculptures:
The sculptures are slid able on a rail and are representative for any relation between two people. Here the description, how it could work between a mother and a child: At the beginning mother and child are usually very close (sculptures are very close together). With puberty, the detachment begins and the child distances himself/herself (demonstration). If the mother follows (demonstration) , the child goes away even further (demonstration) ....if the mother follows again (demonstration) ..... the dynamics will move toward the abyss, until ..... eventually the child can not go any further (demonstration) and it falls into the abyss.
Return to the starting position: If the child goes, but the mother remains in the same position (demonstration), the child and the mother have the opportunity to find a new distance between them and eventually the child will come closer again (demonstration).
If I want to explain MEDICAL CONDITIONS, I like to illustrate them with my sculptures, too.
Be it the eating disorders , the metabolic syndrome
or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) with its three different types:
In lectures, it is quite useful to be able to demonstrate these three different types plastically, because as a child and adolescent psychiatrist I´m often confronted with people who do not put “dreamers” into the category of attention deficit disorders. Most of them have only the image of the loud, hyperactive troublemakers in mind.
With my series “CONTRASTS” I like to show what a huge INFLUENCE OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS LIFE HAS on our posture.
The anorexic and the thick. The thin blocks everything - food, feelings, love ... she is proud – proud to be able to say “no” and disgusted by the thick who can not say that. The thick is shy and insecure. Her fat is some kind of protective cover to prevent her from getting hurt.
The bodybuilder and the intellectual. In addition to the "hardly" divergent physique, I wanted to specifically point out that what we wear in front of our body axis is what seems most important to us. The intellectual his head - the bodybuilder his pectoral muscle or something lying deeper. The heads do have the same size, but the head of the bodybuilder looks a lot smaller.
The fun-loving and depressed. The positions of their hands do not differ a lot, but one is showing her female forms in full love of life, whereas the other one is pressed by the burden of her life, and bent down because of her (back) pain.
In the sculptures ensemble Pompeii I have depicted which different TYPES OF REACTIONS there are to TRAUMATIC EVENTS.
Have you already been to Pompeii? If you look at the first three people, you will notice that they take the same position as the people who have been found in Pompeii: asleep, eyes covered or their heads stuck in the sand. It shows various ways in which people react to a problem. But I added some other possible reactions: the surprised, petrified child who does not know what to do, the fighting one, the one running away, the supplicant / petitioner and the ones embracing. Each of us has his/her own patterns! And ...the psychoanalysis often uses the mountain as a symbol for a problem ... so Mount Vesuvius is the perfect symbol for every problem which appears ...
In the group of sculptures "BEHIND YOU"
I wanted to visualize how much "women power" is behind each woman:
Here: Sixteen women in five rows. In the first row , "the" woman. In the second row - her mother. In the third row - her two grandmothers. In the fourth row her four great-grandmothers. In the fifth row her eight great- great-grandmothers. In the sixth row one would already find sixteen great-great- great-grandmothers ... etc. All the women give their energy - positive or negative – down to the next generation ..... Women Power .
I have dedicated a whole series of sculptures to a psychotherapeutic method that has been developed by Dr. Manfred Clynes called: "THE SENTIC CYCLE" (After he had taught me the method, he allowed me to create sculptures for this cycle).
THE IDEA: In this method one triggers the most important human emotions in a defined order and expresses them in form of finger pressure.
It starts with the "NO- FEELING" , the "nothing " , the neutrality of emotions. Dr. Manfred Clynes calls it "no emotions" .
After one has expressed this “no-feeling” 20-40 times for about 3 to 4 minutes with a finger print, you switch to the next emotion: ANGER
This emotion is also “expressed” 20-40 times.
The same way you proceed with the feelings of
HATE , GRIEF , LOVE , SEXUALITY , JOY , DEVOTION .
I myself allowed me to add one position in my sculptures sequence: The charge or funnel posture which has its origin in yoga.
While this is not a feeling, it is a way of refueling one´s eergy in order to switch from the emptiness of grief to the fullness of love.
The goal is to go through the full range of emotions and not get stuck with one feeling. After that, one feels more peaceful, more enjoyable and one comes in conjunction with his real self.
Now, if you believe that I am only picking the pathologies of humanity or psychotherapeutic issues, I can reassure you : Quite a lot of my works have nothing to do with diseases, but are DIRECTLY AIMED AT HARMONY; BALANCE AND HEALING.
Again I use the activity of mirror neurons: Whatever you allow to affect you, is mirrored inside of you: You might feel free, powerful, strong or need to smile when you see sculptures with these features.
What you see here is not a "real" tango position , but a position that shows what I love about tango : the harmony and the marginal physical contact that is sufficient to know which movement follows. It is passion, dedication and individuality at the same time.
Also my latest sculptures belong into this last group. They open a new chapter of my work, as they are firstly made of steel and they secondly mainly represent the energy flow in the body, not the body itself. The intention is to make the viewer aware of his true potential, his true nature. Today I want to show you just one example. The male and female energy meet at the Heart Center .
The complete exhibition with these sculptures will be on display for the first time in November 2014 in the Gallery Centrum in Graz.
Now I have led you through the world of my sculptures in a hurry. Finally, I would like to show you one last way my sculptures can be used. Under the section "generation nintendo " I have written stories similar to the ones that today's youth has told me. Stories , which, as they say, are fictitious and their similarity to tales of living persons are purely coincidental.
"THE STORY OF kEVIN”
"Everything ". The first word that Kevin knew. Well knew. For he had "everything". He always had.
He possessed every imaginable toy .... and still he was sad, because what he really wanted was denied. The people who believed to spoil him, but actually ran maim him, mentally , socially , his parents . They loved him, no question, but they did not have time for him and they could not buy him time ...
They bought him everything he wanted and , like his friends, he now began his life on a virtual basis . He played Nintendo, watched television and stuffed with chips and candy ... and was getting fatter ...
Habit for him was to have everything. If this request was not satisfied by his life, the
anger, the despair came and its already existing hyperactivity and impulsivity were getting stronger.
The others, the classmates, the teacher did not accept him. Not like he was. He was too exhausting , too loud. He provoked in anywhere. Nobody liked him. He was alone - all alone - an outsider.
Repudiation of the real world, he began to retreat . Back to the world he had known from childhood , the accepted and praised him - where he was good. The Virtual . The computer
Kevin was older, more mature. He began to rethink his life. As we all did it at some point or do - be . He began to realize what had happened. Slowly. Steadily.
He realized that he closed the real world and the virtual had opened alone. As a prisoner. He had his eyes, ears and mouth closed in order to protect themselves from the challenges of life.
But now he was getting at. He was strong, Kevin.
And so he got up, stood up. Liberated from his virtual prison and did what he always
wanted - deep inside him .
He began to go his own way !
I am grateful for your attention and your "With - feel " .
Because I really want to forward my ideas, I allow you to use images of my sculptures for your presentations. You can download them from my homepage www.skrabal.at. Many psychiatric and internal medicine journals and websites have already installed my sculptures. Please just send me a mail, photo, link, how you used them and, of course, respect the copyright! But you are welcome to use for free!