Jems Robert Koko Bi (Germany/Ivory Coast) and Wolfgang Hekele (Germany)
Jems Robert Koko Bi (Germany/Ivory Coast) and Wolfgang Hekele (Germany) »Remember – Repeat – Reprocess« – Installation
The sculptor Jems R. Koko Bi asked me if I, as a friend and psychoanalyst, would be interested in participating with him as scientific partner in a joint project for the third Forest Art Laboratorium.
In the light of my frequent studies of Jems R. Koko Bi’s artistic creations and the fact that I also work with creative processes as an analyst, my interest was stirred.
Thus in early 2006, when we started exploring the area of forest where the “Laboratorium” was to take place, we came upon two large depressions, craters. They were in the middle of trees and bushes and there was nothing growing in them. There had been an anti-aircraft base nearby during the Second World War, when Darmstadt was bombed and destroyed. We immediately associated the craters with the effects of bombs.
These bomb craters stirred in us the desire to turn the destruction of the past into something constructive. We wanted to put the destructive element on show so that we could transform the place of destruction into a place of warning, remembrance, and participation. We wanted to create a place of renewal through remembrance.
In the smaller of the two craters we planned to show destruction itself, in the larger, we wanted to create a place of quiet, reflection and reconciliation.
Jems R. Koko Bi contrasted the terrible emptiness of the larger crater in a dramatic way with the pointed steles of the smaller crater. The violent element increases in power, as these steles are like missiles ready for launch, their scorched black tips pointing up to the sky. Due to its aggressive construction, the size of the hollow crater retains its structural inversion.
This is an illustration of human aggression, which runs through the whole of human history, which still leads to the destruction of human life today, to the destruction of cities and cultural spaces, spiritual values, cultures, nature and dialog between people.
The base of the large, hollow crater is to become a meeting place. Jems R. Koko Bi has made countless seats from large sections of trees, positioned them in rows and anchored them in the ground. The idea of the collective will be “visible” for everyone, so that they are able to see and hear it together. A place to be with others.
The birch tree planted in the middle of the large crater is a symbol for a new beginning, for the regeneration of life, for growth. This crater symbolizes the hope of overcoming forgetfulness, resignation and powerlessness. For it has been transformed into a place of togetherness, meeting, talking, pausing, meditation and reflection. You can sit down on one of his seats and open yourself to nature, your own thoughts or the words of another.
The title, “Remember – Repeat – Reprocess”, comes from psychoanalytic thought. S. Freud marked it out as the formula according to which conflict-laden experiences which have been suppressed in the course of psychoanalytic treatment are recalled to memory, reanimated in the therapeutic relationship (repeated) and, in their complexity, resolved bit by bit (worked through); that which was suppressed earlier is able to penetrate the conscious in this way, whereby new solutions for thus far unsolved neurotic conflicts can be found. The individual is liberated from the distressing, destructive compulsion to end up time and again in the tortuous, futile and neurotic patterns of processing, experiencing and behavior.
Just as the psychoanalyst encourages his patients to recall and process traumatic experiences or unresolved conflicts with people and to find new solutions, the artist also recalls injuries, creates a place of self-reflection and, through his creativity, opens up new paths and hope. Both in analytical and artistic presentation, we create spaces and ways to face up to the dark side, the one we want to forget.
This newly formed site is meant to remind us of the past, but it also makes it clear that something new can grow from the emptiness of destruction. Remembering today, through the symbolism of the newly planted tree, points to a process of hopeful renewal in the future.