Stephan Balkenhol, who studied at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg in the class of Ulrich Rückriem, has exhibited widely in galleries and museums around the globe, including major solo exhibitions at the Austrian Landesgalerie Linz (2014-
As one of the most important sculptors of his generation, Stephan Balkenhol’s (1957, Fritzlar, Germany) predominately figurative works have influenced the contemporary idea of sculpture in an enduring way. Lodged in the temporal and stylistic continuity that extends from ancient Egypt, through medieval polychrome wood statuary to Renaissance portraiture, his archetypical figures, usually carved out of one massive block of wood, are a kind of twenty-
With Balkenhol’s work, one is encouraged to observe. There is no pathos speaking from the figures’ gestures and expressions—every emotion would already be a reading, which would pin down the figure—and as they are only what they are, they become astonishingly open for the viewer, liberated from all political, religious or allegorical implications, free in their own reality; one that, though in a way seemingly “not of this world,” still belongs to our present time.
As Balkenhol himself comments, his figures are, in some way, “exactly like us,” as they “say a lot and nothing.” The wood corresponds to the tempo of Balkenhol’s thoughts and labour. Where stone is “too slow,” and plaster and clay are “too fast,” wood is both resistant and alive, material that can be researched in the process of chiselling. The sculptural possibilities are, somehow, already hidden in the wood of the tree trunk.
|Broersen & Lukács|
|Jaap van den Ende|
|Miguel Angel Rios|