Meeting Peter Mandl

By Pavel Vavruch Curalor of art

It was at an exhibition of sculpture in Norrviken's gardens, in Båstad 1986.I went home to Västerås with Peter Mandl's sculptllre in my mind. We had planned a large congress hall. A suitable sculpture was to be placed in front of it and only a hundred meters from the monumental sculpture of Eric Grate "The Wind Grotto". A sculptor of Peter Mandl would fit well in this situation, thanks to its reserved and intensive form.

 

Who is this sculptor, I thought. Presumably an elderly and very resolute creator, who has built up his principles over the years; exact, calculated, tested, completely fixed and beyond dispute. Getting him enthusiastic about a special and preferably thematic project, a congress hall in Västerås, would not be an easy task.

We continued to look at other artists' work, but the name Peter Mandl remained, not least because often other sculptures that already decorate Västerås city and which would, in this new sculpture, be confronted with an opposing view; a well balanced contrast which would widen the appreciation ofartistic expression.

 

Having now met Peter Mandl on many occasions, my earlier mental image of this sculptor as an elderly, professorial character seems a little comic. Impressions of continuous change and renewal are more typical when meeting him, hut at the same time it is rare in contemporary art to meet such consistent, well thought out structure, a collaboration between strong movement and secure stability. This is proof of a maturity based on experience, deep trust in the basic principles and familiarity with the perfection of form.

 

The fact that all of that can be apparent in a sculpture cannot entirely be due to calculation of the laws of volume, weight, power and perspective. You soon realises this when you come in contact with Peter Mandl's sculptures. What gives his work such a captivating strength is just that organic combination of feeling, fascination and the clear formulation of the dominating form: the intuitive fusion of the intellectual architectonic, the disciplined, the laconic and warm emotional openness.

 

The birth of the sculpture Daedalos which now stands in front of the Aros Congress Center in Västerås exemplifies Peter Mandl's professional nature. The figure of Daedalos, that mystical inventor, artist, experimenter etc., fits perfectly an institution which deals with symposia, conferences, with the spreading of information and knowledge. This project went with incredible speed and soon assumed its final form.Thanks to Peter Mandl, I now know what Daedalos was like and is for us. He stands firm yet goes continually forward and will soon rise again towards the sun.It is not sufficient tojust want, one must also dare and above all be capahle and knowledgeable, as well as have the strength. That is how I experience our Daedalos, a messenger from Peter Mandl's art in Västerås.

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Pavel Vavruch Curalor of art