When I met Louis Fleischauer and became acquainted with him, his work and his philosophy I became quite fascinated. I decided to invite him for an interview, and luckily he said yes. What suits him best in my opinion is the title of a modern shaman. Louis comes across as a strong individual, a composer, who creates from a deep sense of spirituality, respect for nature and an enormous passion and fascination for individuality. . He loves blood, chocolate and a good glass of red wine.
Louis has been a creator for as long as he can remember. He is a multimedia artist, with the focus on Body Art Rituals (body modification) and wearable sculptures. His collection of wearable art can be found online under the name of AMF (https://amfkorsets.com/wp4/).
Louis was born in Leipzig, which was eastern Germany back then. He remembers this time as a “grufti” (gothic teenager) as gloomy, gray and “with a touch of hopelessness”. However, being openly suppressed created a stronger sense of community is what he explains.
“Anything related to counter-culture or off the norm was considered hostile to the State. My friends and I constantly got stopped by the police for the way we dressed. I even had problems with the Stasi (secret police) just because I refused to fit in. There was a shortage of almost everything, even Ketchup was sometimes hard to get. On a positive note, rent was super cheap and there were almost no homeless people”.
He moved into a squat in Berlin right after the wall came down.
He did his first performance and some DJ-ing in Berlin before moving to Los Angeles. Now he’s back in Berlin.
What is your artistic background?
I’m Self-taught, life is my art school. My father is an Artist (sculptor and painter) and my grandfather was a Music Teacher. I am a creator as far as I can remember. I got more serious about making art right after the wall came down and I moved to Berlin. I started AMF korsets in 1996 in Los Angeles. The Creations of AMF can be seen as tools of transformation. We strongly believe in self-expression and individuality and for this reason AMF is specialized in custom pieces and one of a kind creations. (All Designs and creative works, such as sculpting, hand painting, wounding and stitching are by done Louis Fleischauer).
Is there a specific type of person you design wearable art for, or is it for everyone?
My art is for anyone who has the desire to feel my work on their skin. I work mostly with organic materials, such as earth, roots, and barks, but mostly, skin in the form of leather, or the human canvas (including my own skin and blood)
There is definitely a rebel inside of me, but I would not define myself by it. I’m passionate about many things, especially the environment, civil liberties and the autonomy over your own body. As an artist, I naturally incorporate themes that trigger emotions within me. Art lives from emotion. I’m first and foremost an artist. I think you can inspire more people when you seduce and not preach. I don’t necessarily consider myself a fetishist, it depends on my mood.
In what way does the human body play a role in your art and performances?
I’m an Artist and Flesh Explorer who likes to dive into the realms of ritual and shamanism. Most of my art is in one way or another interactive, the human body is a great instrument for this. My wearable art would not be wearable without a human that makes my art alive. I love turning people into living sculptures or human instruments, but most of all I love pushing the body (mine included) to the limit. I believe there is a deep human longing to explore your body through pain and exhaustion. This can lead to trance and with it comes a sense of freedom. You can find rites that push the body towards exhaustion in every corner of the world.
I work with different methods, individually or combined, such as dance, restriction of movement, breath control and screams. Hook Suspension is still my favourite way to travel though.
For those who don’t know the term: Can you explain what body modification means?
Having a brain freeze, so Wikipedia: Body modification is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance. In its broadest definition, it includes skin tattooing, socially acceptable decoration, and religious rites of passage, as well as the modern primitive movement.
Are sexuality and spirituality part of your work?
Of course, my work is about exploring and using your body to reach new states of awareness. I work with raw primal energy and instincts.
Be in touch with your humanity, including the animal inside yourself. We cannot grow and evolve along as we suppress part of ourselves. The more you suppress your animal instincts the more they will rule you on a subconscious level. Being in touch with your inner beast doesn’t mean giving in to the entirety of its hunger, simply be aware of it and find a healthy outlet.
Don’t be afraid of nature and the Kaos that comes with it. Find your balance. Total control is just as destructive as total chaos. We have to realize that we are part of nature, and by destroying it, we destroy ourselves. Accepting to be part of an organism doesn’t contradict with your individuality.