Mario Dilitz works with wood to create touching, meaningful sculpture. His works are a sort of expose on the human condition, bare emotion painted across bare wood. Our vulnerable, withdrawn, most quiet moments are his focus, and damn does he depict them well. Check out his interview:
In your Biography, it is stated that your work discusses the contradictions in human nature, what about it would you say you are addressing?
Most interesting for me is the tension of the contradiction between what you see outside and what you can sense inside of a person. Itʼs all about a moment. I am fascinated by moments. Especially the withdrawn, non-active and silent moments. My sculptures all express such moments and they remain and keep still there. In this manner I want my sculptures to be a projection surface for the observer, almost a mirror. For this reason I strive for very neutral facial expressions. The viewer will interpret the artwork in function of where he stands emotionally and intellectually at the very moment of contemplation. I could give him perhaps a small idea, but it won’t be visible, only palpable.
What contradictions do you see in yourself as a person?
Many, as in almost anyone, but my main contradiction must be to be an artist.
How do these influence your work?
I don’t quite know, but of course they do, even though I don’t really notice that.
You combine smooth and precise bodies, faces, legs, with hands and underwear that are rough, marred even. Why?
The focus of my work is the human body. It’s sensuality, it’s strength, it’s most fascinating form and it’s diversity in expression. It’s the language of the body that is most interesting for me. We all speak with the whole body, not only with facial expression. Nuances against the skin can change the whole expression. So skin is very important and through a longer working process, the hard and rough wood will finally get the character of soft and smooth skin. In contrast I often leave clothes and accessories in its rough shape, so you can still see and feel the rawness of the natural material.
What do these two areas of the body say to you different than the rest?
It’s the accessories I often leave in a rough shape. Sometimes they cover parts of the body like cloves or underwear, but even if they seem to be an eye-catcher, it’s never about the accessories but always about what you see and feel in the whole expression of the body.
The rough wood isn’t ugly, but it is crude, exaggerated in size, violent even, are these the most violent parts of our external person?
I never thought about that before.
The hands with which we hold knives, guns, curl into fists?
There’s a lot that we can do with our hands, isn’t there?
Much of your work is nude but for the crotch, why have you chosen to clothe your works here? Is there something different about this area, to you?
You won’t find fully worked out genitals with my works, as they usually disturb the view of the whole body. They simply distract too much.
How do you think viewers will perceive your work, all nude but for the genitals?
As I want my sculptures to be a projection surface, viewers often see whatever is likely for them at the very moment. It’s always up to the viewers what they will recognize, feel, or sense while being with my sculptures.
Whether proud or bashful, many of your pieces standing upright, why?
My sculptures stand still and timeless, not wanting to be anything in particular, but to stand for something. Standing upright has this certain kind of strength. It’s a strength that evolves from within.
Wood is possibly the most lifelike medium, after all, it was alive not so long ago, but your work has such a silence to it, a stillness, is this a fair assertion?
Wood has a very strong importance for me. It is a material I feel very connected to. It is like a synonym for home for me. It always reminds me of the woods of my childhood, the workshop of my father, my first own carving experiences back when I was a child. The special, laminated wood I am using for my sculptures has gone through the whole process of growing and dying, of destruction and then reconstruction. There is a lot of soul in the material and it reveals when being shaped to a sculpture.
What emotion would you associate with your work?
Being withdrawn into oneself.
How does it make you feel?
Mostly calm and comfortable.
What is an important thing you have through your work?
Very important to me is a solid basis, both mentally and artistically, the willingness to grow and the ability to go one step after another.
You spend time making pieces to discuss human nature, where has the work taken you?
It’s an ongoing process, it’s never done.
In place of a manifesto, how has art, sculpture or otherwise, had an impact on your life and how you perceive the human condition?
It always had and still has a big impact on me. Art is the primal way of communication.
How are you challenging yourself?
The daily involvement with oneself.
What does the new year hold for you?
What is next, artistically?
There are ideas and a feeling for a direction, but itʼs not official yet.
If you could have any drink right now, and any food, what would they be?
As I spent a lot of time in Munich, it would probably be half a grilled chicken and a bucket of fresh beer 😉