Monthly Archives: April 2016

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Ronald Anderson: „The Car Sculpture“   – Artist American Natives (Oklahoma, USA) 

In “Art Touches Art – 34” I write about the „Car Sculpture“ of Ronald Anderson which is standing as a testimony of the coincidence of presence and past and about the caused effects to the identity-finding of American natives.

 To be found under „Art Touches Art“

Renate Hugel 

“Art Touches Art – 34”

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Ronald Anderson (Native American Artist):  “The Car Sculpture”

Sculpture from two approx. 2 m of high wood posts, two scrapped cars, metal as well as screws (to the fastening of the metal parts at the wood posts – Location: Oklahoma Basin)

Left Photo: Visit at the Car Sculpture; Right Photo: Close-up of the Car Sculpture;  Photos: Of 2001

The Car Sculpture

Ronald Anderson (RA) had driven us to this field sometime in which he had built his “Car Sculpture” already years ago.

On the right and left side, this sculpture is limited by untreated round wood posts, in brown color each. Between the wood posts, a car wreck – in the colors red and blue – is situated directly over the country ground. The front limitation of the car (there where the headlights usually are) forms the stand area on the country ground. The car wreck therefore stands vertically and to be more precise so, that between the two outer limitations of approx. 2 m of high the observer looks directly at the car roof like also on the windshield with the adjacent engine hood (under this); and the upper limitation forms the car back.

With the chosen coloration RA divides the top view on the car wreck (described above) into a left (red) and right (blue) side. Above on the car back, RA had fitted two steel bars stably. These bars carry a thin metal plate at the upper ends.

In connection with the described foundations the round formed metal plate looks like a human face which RA had also indicated graphically as such. The metal tongues therefore stand for “hair”. The steel bars are also perceived by it as “throat”; and the car back now will be interpreted of the observers as “shoulders”.

The top view described above on the car converts this car wreck to a human body: A person of imposing size and stature therefore stands opposite the observer!

While the long wood posts on the right and on the left, “are going up”, there is a gap which releases the look at the behind one over the metal-tongue-hair: On the photo it is the blue of the sky.

There, where the last quarter of the approx. 2 m high wood-trunks starts, RA had fastened another car wreck (however of white color) which reaches the upper end of the wood-trunks.

This car wreck seems to have been shortened. It has in addition got applications of metal and steel bars. On the right above a bison horn formed from car metal determines the perception because the balance of the sculpture is “disturbed” in this place. Under this the observer looks in dark bison eyes represented by the empty metal frameworks of headlamps. And there, where the mouth of a bison must be, a trapezium-shaped thing from steel bars finally rises approaching the observer: A black something is on the car-metal, put within the trapezium-shaped area and represents the tongue of this bison apparently.

In its white color however, this powerful animal is appearing like “not of this world” while “floating” above all.

Taking further steps back, one has the general impression of this car sculpture – at sufficient distance – in front of oneself:

For me this arrangement described above reminds of a totem post very much.

In the following, I want to explain my above statement in my interpretation:

Totem posts represent a family- or tribe-sign; however may also tell stories or report of important events with the help of significant symbols. These have to be included and interpreted up from below.

Exactly in this way, I will start now getting on the track of the artistic statement of Ronald Anderson:

This totem post consists of two elements. A human figure is standing below, absolutely earthed; a bison, more in heavenly spheres than on the earth, is situated at the top, with only one horn.

RA has provided the person with a headdress, what does make it clear that this is an American native. The headdress converts the face of the person to a sun-face. This sun symbol is assigned to the pueblo natives in the southwest of America. Since this is not the tribal membership of RA, he generalizes his statement with that.

The American natives of all tribal memberships are affected by this problem which RA formulates with his work of art:

A totem post which is standing same as a coat of arms for a family or even for a whole tribe, this one, is bearing symbols which have to do something with their philosophy of life and inner identification.

Of the identity with the roots of one’s own, nowadays only few things have remained with a spiritual and/or ritual background! This headdress in this respect stands for accessories which have lost its spiritual background, however, in the present everyday-life. Today’s everyday-life has a heavyweight symbol in our time (from the point of view of 2001) which is in connection with this object simultaneously with an inner identification:

The Car!  

With many people (no matter which nationality), inner convictions and lived conception of the world had been stepped to the place of the symbol “car”! It increases the self-confidence of its owner but also this of whole nations – one can say – “almost everywhere in the world”! At long last, some of today’s natives of America could not escape from this identification with an “upgrading” by the status symbol “car”. The former conception of the world of their ancestors had been taken away, had been snatched. An inner emptiness wanted to be filled. (A psychological problem which happens among many people of different sections of the population, though)…

RA had elected a vertical division to red and blue with the coloration of the body of the represented person. The red, a little bit faded, refers for me to the once deeply bright red which stood for the spiritual strength with the ancestors of the American natives. The blue chosen by RA symbolizes for me the ischemia and with that the world of the thoughts which do not arise out of the personal experience any more. Rather, the faded blue also corresponds to the present everyday consciousness which lets (in its inner turmoil between the different activities and duties of one day) the thoughts often get feeble and flat…

Somehow this represented American native appears to me (in his identification with former symbols of the origin of his own, how also in his identification with a status symbol of our days) as if he has been pressed into a stencil. There is none escape there: The thinking is conducted along the thinking-track of the majority.   

But the spirit of the so much admired bison is floating above everything.

This once extremely earthed animal of strength reminds which physical strength and inner energy he embodied in the past!  In this condition he followed his own ways and the energy of his own.

For me that single-horny bison reminds that the American natives should not fail to follow their own energy and strength.

And this is the challenge of our days to find one’s own place in the existing American society and simultaneously to integrate the identity of one’s own (provided from the scanty traces of the ancestors of one’s own) into the own every-day-life! 

Interpretation: Renate Hugel


Remark 1: Current stand: To Ronald Anderson I have written under “Art Touches Art” the contributions “Art Touches Art – 1, 13, 19, 25, 29 and 34”. Furthermore you find a “remark to Ronald Anderson” on HOME (from the 24th of July 2015).

In addition, there is a mention under “Art Touches Art – 16” (the contribution to the teamwork “block-pictures”).

Remark 2: The contributions under “Art Touches Art” refer in part 1 (“Art Touches Art – 1 to 28”) to the symposium “Attempt of an Encounter – Five Native American Artists meet five European Artists”. This had taken place in Bremen (Germany), in the year 2000. Whoever would like to ask about the genesis of the symposium can scroll back till “Art Touches Art – 1”, then continue scrolling back till Information about ‚Art Touches Art‘; after that you find then the „Chronology of the Past History“.

In part 2 (as of “Art Touches Art – 29”), the contributions refer to the return visit in Oklahoma (USA) in the year 2001.

Note: (of the 24th  of  07th  2015):  See on HOME: “Remark to Ronald Anderson”

Renate Hugel

„Art Touches Art – 33“


Willi Griephan: „The Hat-Tree“ – – –  Or: „Who’s that Hat“ – – –  Photo: Willi Griephan – – –  Gracemont, Oklahoma, 2001

„The Hat-Tree“ – – –  Or: „Who’s that Hat“- – –  (Willi Griephan, Bremen, Germany)

This work of art is the result of a spontaneous idea which had come to Willi Griephan (WG) while all of us were buying sunhats (extremely important here in Oklahoma). And this had just as spontaneously led at him to the purchase of approx. twenty straw-hats in addition.

We others did not yet know what he wanted to do with that.…

Back in our “studio in the open”* WG first of all set up his place to work in one of our “teepee studios”*. – There, WG could be found for the coming time while painting from this time on. An important role played apparently the color RED with this painting:  All natural-colored straw-hats changed into red objects in the course of the time. – At long last, a tree should play the leading role – however…

(*see to this: „Art Touches Art – 31“)

In fact, WG himself had chosen finally a tree in the wider surroundings in order to fasten on it his hats.

With that, this tree had changed into an “attention grabber”! Positive energies and feelings already started out from the color red which could let her strength shine between tree-trunk, branches and foliage. The fact that hats were the bearer of the color red may be symbol for it that they – as protectors of the human head – would like to cause also powerful positive thoughts.

Like to be seen on the photo, these red hats appeared in the light of the glistening sun in a wonderful transparency and ease! The observer cannot ward the feeling off that these hats – in their RED – do NOT want to restrict or even to set up thinking-barriers! They rather have inspired the thoughts and show them the way to the high spheres.…

It turned out very soon that this tree sculpture still should get another con-player.…

The strength of the wind then anyway showed its effect, rattled at the branches, sheets and hats! Amazingly, they were able to hold to those strengths of the wind for a long time – at least most of all hats.

But sometime, one could see here and there snatched hats – far away from the location of the “Hat-Tree” – being worn by the winds.

While these hats were carried across country, meadows, ways or streets, the wind had become the bearer of kind greetings to the residents with that…

A nice gesture had turned out with that, also to the population – thanks to WG!

The question “Who’s that Hat?” had been the first spontaneous title Willi Griephan had given to his tree sculpture “Hat-Tree” in the year 2001. I would like to respond to it now:

“It is the good well-disposed spirit who wants to become a positive reality in this world!” – – – Interpretation: Renate Hugel


Here is following a representation by Willi Griephan himself to his person, motivation and design-intention which had led to the “Hat-Tree”:

I came to Oklahoma more as relation-appendix than as an “artist involved”, for, by education and self-conception I am an engineer, a curious and bright contemporary but. As I have not taken any materials, tools or ideas along to the ‘studio in the open’, I first had to look about once. It was a more dryly area where we had landed, with bushes and little trees growing on reddish brown earth, the individual farms were removed rather far from each other surrounded by pastures. Horses and cattle could be seen but llamas also stood on the pastures which in real some couple of thousand kilometers further to the south belonged to. The farmers of this area seemed to have little strange hobbies in order to put counterpoints against the abandoned surroundings.

I had to win an idea from the country – but what should I begin with reddish brown earth and thin green vegetation?

The only remarkable limelight was one mimosas tree, high, gnarled with thin, pale green, delicate leaves. With this (tree) I wanted to begin something. I thought about something droll, suited to this area and its residents. I thought of something stimulating, stirring up the desert here.

This dissolved somehow in a supermarket. Three women from our group bought sunhats twisted from straw. Appropriately because of the prevailing weather, and cheap, because it was summer sale. I could hang such straw hats into the tree. They can represent people, or, more improved, just heads and were a beautiful contrast to the natural tree: round, swung elegantly. Only the color did not match yet. The color of the straw was to nature-near. But the color could be changed easily. I needed a complementary color to the pale green of the leaves. So I came to the red candy color of the hats.

I intended to hang the hats into the tree. I tried to let them hanging down from the upper branches, fastened with a string. This worked as lanterns rocking in the wind. Like a child amusement, as a “Pillepalle”. The hats needed a solid place in the tree. I was looking for a solid wire in the house, in the shack, in the surroundings. Nothing could be found. I roved through the wider surroundings and found nothing apart from branches of a willow tree. They were flexible and firm at the same time.

Such the sculpture arose and I was content. She was association capable. They (the hats) could be tree spirits who had chosen this special tree. However, it just could also be a game of nature-form against culture-form with their different colors. The observer may make up his mind there.

Willi Griephan


Remark 1: Current stand: I have written the contribution “Art Touches Art – 33” to Willi Griephan under “Art Touches Art”.

Remark 2: The contributions under “Art Touches Art” refer in part 1 (“Art Touches Art – 1 to 28”) to the symposium “Attempt of an Encounter – Five Native American Artists meet five European Artists”. This had taken place in Bremen (Germany), in the year 2000. Whoever would like to ask about the genesis of the symposium can scroll back till „Art Touches Art – 1“, then continue scrolling back till Information about ‚Art Touches Art‘; after that you find then the „Chronology of the Past History“.

In part 2 (as of „Art Touches Art – 29“) the contributions refer to the return visit in Oklahoma (USA) in the year 2001. – – – Renate Hugel