Prof. Dr. em Lutz Fiedler, University of Marburg
"The most important thought currents in modern times are enlightenment and romanticism. Enlightenment had the mission of a rationally describing the world after the middle ages. The discovered physical laws seemed to provide the right means to objectively analyse the cosmos and human nature, in order to render them accessible to the rational mind.
One of the most important philosophers of this mindset was the French philosopher Descartes, who saw the up to then inexplicable aliveness of the world as a highly complicated mechanical concept, in which man, too, is a machine, that can be probed and described down to its very details.
The following Romanticism (with Herder, Goethe and Novalis) disagreed by seeing a hidden mystery in the innermost core of all things being, which revealed itself to man’s limited thinking not only through reason and logic, but through feelings, amazement and wonder.
Since then and till today both of these completely opposed ways of thinking find their impressive echoes in literature, visual arts and performing arts: Renaissance and Barock, visual realism and atmospheric bliss, Menzel and Spitzweg, Constructivism and Surrealism, Malewitsch and Chagall, Cubism and Expressionism. Uecker and Pollock, PopArt and Video-Installations are some of the antipodes in which the understanding of the world has been transcribed. Modernity is characterized by revealing a constitutive connection between these contradictory pairs, before which Postmodernism finally capitulated in mental apathy and self-conscious lack of concept.
Without this background Sebastian Stoll’s pictures cannot be understood.
The artist was born in 1969 in Mainz. From early on, his father acquainted with the mineralogy of the siliceous rocks of nearby Hunsrück, especially the region around Idar-Oberstein. The hand specimens of fossilized wood and agate found in countless excursions and ramblings filled the collection cupboards and cabinets of his parental home. In the cuts and polished slabs of the finds a limitless polymorphism was revealed, manifested in basic chemical components, crystalline regularities and geomorphological forces. Sebastian Stoll tried to capture his fascination of this in photographs, whose inspiring role models he found in mineralogical reference books and gem stone catalogues.
Like anyone else he was able to say that some of these images surpassed the masterpieces of 20th century modern painting in range and richness. He realized that good photos of these gemstone cuts possess an artistic quality in the sense that the realization of the suitable motif, the skill of quality photography and the quest for the perfect picture section requires high craftmanship. At the same time he felt an inadequacy of these merely esthetic renderings, because they do not sufficiently express the core of the powerful creative forces of nature visually present in the interior of the rocks.
Driven by this he started to experiment with his photographs and tried to capture his impressions and mold them into a presentation form which unifies the world of wonders of scientific mineralogy with mindful seeing and understanding.
The digital possibilities of reworking photos on the computer offered him a suitable tool for this. In a long journey of experiments he tried not to destroy the marvels of nature and the respect they deserve through human manipulation. Instead, he tried to intensify and capture their essence by the colouring and architectonic mirroring in his images.
The impressive results present themselves as a convincing synthesis of clean representation following the laws of nature and the meditative marvel and pursuit of a mysterious „blue flower”, whose commonality lies in the origin and formation of the cosmos, life and the human spirit.