“My work is important. And that I can do this work for more than half my life, pursue my thoughts and ideas, is almost unbelievable.”
Volker W. Hamann’s Early Life and Identity
Volker W. Hamann was born in 1962 in a hospital in Stuttgart, and was given the name Volker Waldemar Hamann by his parents. Growing up in a small, old cottage with four brothers, he received his education in the rural village where the cottage was located. Despite the strictness of his upbringing, Hamann developed a strong sense of independence and freedom that shaped him throughout his life. He has often longed for a more conventional lifestyle, but his spirit always rebelled against it.
One notable incident from his childhood occurred on the first day of school, when a teacher greeted him with the statement, “You don’t have all your cups in the cupboard”, which in German means “You are completely stupid.” Nevertheless, Hamann has focused on making his work, rather than himself, important. The fact that he has been able to pursue his passions and ideas for over half his life is a testament to his perseverance and the support of those around him.
To this day, Hamann’s identity remains somewhat of a mystery to him. As with many of his generation, there are aspects of his childhood and youth that continue to elude him. His mother once commented that he never played as a child, instead he was always “working.” In the dialect of his hometown, he would reply, “I schaff!” when asked what he was doing.
Creative Process and Inspiration
For many years, Hamann was free to pursue his every desire. He would grab his chainsaw, drive to a location, choose a piece of wood, and start working. Before long, a sculpture would emerge. He approached photography in a similar manner, with boundless possibilities both physically and psychologically.
Volker W. Hamann has a diverse portfolio of work that ranges from small to large, thin to thick, light to heavy, and can vary in terms of depth and content. An overview of his work can be found on his website, volkerwhamann.de, though it only represents a fraction of his abilities.
Inspiration for Volker’s work comes from an array of sources, including the natural world, the Internet, and his own travels. Despite the constant flow of inspiration, the monotony of daily life can sometimes hinder his creativity and perception. To overcome this, Volker often embarks on solo travels to new and unique destinations. He views these trips not as vacations, but as an essential part of his artistic process, allowing him to immerse himself in new environments and recharge his creativity.
By traveling alone, Volker is able to focus solely on his work without distractions, and every destination presents a new opportunity for observation, exploration, and creation. His travels have taken him to various countries, from Poland to Portugal, and from Malaysia to Australia, offering him a wealth of experiences and perspectives to draw upon in his artistic pursuits.
Volker W. Hamann’s Artistic Achievements
Volker W. Hamann is known for his exceptional wooden sculptures and photographs. Most of his notable sculptures were crafted in Poland, where he also rekindled his love for photography in 1997. In 2004, Hamann created the series “NACHTLICHTE LICHTNAECHTE” in Piotrków Trybunalski, a small town in central Poland, which marked the beginning of his nocturnal photography endeavor. Over the next decade, he traveled extensively throughout Asia in search of unique and irreplaceable night photography subjects.
Visitors to Saarbruecken, a picturesque city located in western Germany near the French border, can find Hamann’s wooden wall sculptures and photographs displayed throughout a recently constructed bank in the pedestrian zone. The highlight of the building is the installation in the entrance hall, where two interactive “air fish” and a “beamer sculpture” are suspended at varying heights, creating an awe-inspiring sight within the 17-meter-high room. The “air fish” change color in response to stimuli, while the “beamer sculpture” resembles a spider with arms reaching out in various directions, each equipped with transparent plates that serve as both mirrors and projectors, displaying the video image not only on the main wall but also on surrounding surfaces. The realization of the project proved to be a challenge, but the end result is a testament to Hamann’s artistic vision and mastery.
Volker W. Hamann: Aspirations and Challenges
Volker W. Hamann yearns for the establishment of a dependable source of income, similar to that of an “oil well”, to support his creative endeavors. He envisions a consistent stream of revenue, similar to that of successful musicians or writers who have achieved great success with a best-selling hit, providing a constant influx of funds into his household. The costs associated with his work are substantial, and a more secure financial foundation would bring him a great deal of relief.
In 2013, Volker W. Hamann found himself in a challenging situation while on a photography excursion in a foreign country. The rules of the country prohibited the photographing of military and police forces, and on Fridays after prayer hour, when emotions were known to run high and spontaneous demonstrations were common, special units were always on standby.
As Volker set up his tripod to capture a scene, he felt observed. Upon turning around, he came face to face with a male figure and a secret policeman in civilian clothing. Despite his attempts to diffuse the situation, he was taken to a police station.
At the station, Volker was able to explain his role as a traveling artist collecting photographs for a series from various countries around the world. The stationmaster eventually allowed him to leave, but he couldn’t help but ponder what the outcome would have been if he weren’t an artist.