- Kain Karawahn is a freelance artist, born in 1959, who lives in Berlin and Blossin. There are two main focuses in his work:
- Theory and practice of the human–fire relationship in the fields of visual/performing arts, pedagogy and philosophy
- Teaching cultural and artistic fire competence in day cares, schools, universities and adult education institutions
»More than 30 years ago I started working and living as an artist. After more than 20 years of working in places where an artist can earn an income with their art (galleries, museums, theatres, festivals, etc.), I found that my work remained futile. Although my family and I were able to survive on my work, I did not feel there was any advancement towards my aspirations to improve the world. Because after all, the art community knows why, where and how the world can be improved.
In 2004 I accepted a commission from a day care centre to work as an artist with children. From then on, I began teaching five-year-old children how to responsibly make fire according to aesthetic criteria. And suddenly, through the knowledge gained by working with children, I achieved the social and worldly effect I had always dreamed of. I was once again standing in front of walls that needed to be ›burned down‹ – like in 1984 before the Berlin Wall.
I now work intensively in early childhood education as well as in social hotspots, i. e. with people and in places where my artwork has never been able to make a difference before. I now even work with artistic means in education. An area of education, which for more than 200 years has mostly neglected to enable and teach children to take responsibility for their fire.
I am infinitely grateful to art and its discipline-focused learning process, its nourishing freedom and the ability to work freely. I will cheer on those who are no longer allowed to burn socially. Because the ability to control a wood fire is a specific characteristic of a single way of life. The ability to control fire initiates creativity, reflection and control of human activity. When children with home-made fire are no longer able to enjoy the experience and knowledge that comes with it, then we’ve not only reached the spiritual beginning of the end of being human, the burn-out of poetic childhoods, but as well the ›burn-out‹ of the artistic ability of human assets in all social matters.«
»The movement of the spirit is like that of fire, it takes place in ascension.«
Claude de Saint-Martin
About the photographs:
The photographic depiction of a burning process is a likeness of something that has long since been extinguished: a drawing of materials and/or living creatures in a distribution of light together within the structure of flame. The photograph then allows for the assumption that it really burned in the depicted temporal and spatial framework. But an image will always remain cold. This is how photography was aptly described in its early days: cold fire. Not only as cold as its ashes, but, at least initially, the world only experienced the hues of its first pictures in ashen tones (in the drab shades of black and white). Since then, the focus of objectives have outwitted the heat of real fires to reach their point of combustion.
The photographer risks hitting all the focal points of a subjective selection of our burning zeitgeist: The focal points of the burning process sear themselves onto the lens of the camera and onto the film emulsion or into the memory chip of my camera – ice-cold and nonetheless hot.