Born in 1930 in Raszyn-Falenty, Poland. Lives in Warsaw
Schreitende, steel, 10 figures (2 m) in an area of 200 x 308 x 780 cm, 2004
The Sleep of Reason
With the installation Schreitende (Figures Striding), Magdalena Abakanowicz urges political vigilance. In 1968 the Polish artist experienced the Prague Spring and the invasion by the Russian army. Seeing a large number of sleeping Russian soldiers at Prague station became a decisive moment in the life of the then 38-year-old. The motionless bodies of the soldiers, clad in threadbare khaki uniforms, resembled faceless sack-like shells. This faceless crowd, politically manipulated and without intelligence, headless and hollow, as part of the submissive natural world, became the subject of artistic dialogue for her.
“I was obsessed with the image of the crowd, manipulated and acting like a brainless being”. This is how Abakanowicz describes the experience that remains a symbol of fear for her.
In the 1970s Abakanowicz, who later became professor of art and an internationally renowned artist, started to transform these experiences into art. She models the human body in coarse hessian and has the plaster moulds cast in bronze or iron. Thousands of figures were produced in this way. Groups of 30, 50 or 80 of these figures can be found in museums and art collections around the world. If all these striding figures were brought together, they would fill a huge space.
Born in 1936 in Heppenheim, Germany. Lives in Karlsruhe
Figur 1000, steel, 220 x 70 x 90 cm, 1997
Is that the Head – or still the Foot?
Horst Antes is considered the founder of new figurative painting in Germany. He established himself on the international art scene at the beginning of the 1960s with the Kopffüßler (headfoot) figure. The two-dimensional figure became his trademark, which he has produced in numerous versions using different techniques such as drawing, painting and sculpture. The figure has no neck, a small chest and stomach and its head and feet seem to merge into one.
The human body can only just be made out. Like an invented hieroglyph, the Kopffüßler both confronts and conceals itself from the visitor. The Figur 1000 in the Gerisch Sculpture Park appears so weightless that it might walk across the lake and its relief-like existence turns the landscape around it into a picture. It is characteristic of this figure that it keeps referring to itself, thus forming an autonomous system. Is that still the head or is it the body? Is that still a leg or is it a foot? Is this still a sculpture or is it a picture? The mythical aspect of closeness to existence is particularly important to Antes, as are the katchina dolls of the Native American Hopi culture.
As the artist himself puts it: "The figures are always amusing figures of art. You shouldn’t see them as demonic creatures or fiends from hell or whatever else.”
Born in 1940 in Hilden, died in 2001 in Cologne
Lebensgröße Dresden, Bronze, 210 x 220 x 140 cm, 1983
on permanent loan from Krimhild Becker
Sculpture as a body trace
Heinz Breloh's work, which was shown in 2008 in an extensive exhibition at Gerisch-Stiftung, can be read, in its striving for directness, as an often ignored point of reference of contemporary sculpture. Like no other sculptor, Breloh sees sculpture as a body trace, creating, in the 1980s, a new sculptural paradigm: "We can, indeed we must say that the Lebensgrößen (lifesize sculptures) are a new step in the history of sculpture." (Manfred Schneckenburger). Breloh walks or even dances around the soft plaster in a choreographed fashion, throws his whole body against it, embraces the lump with his arms, breaks through it with his knees and legs, moves back and forwards with his head until it has become hard and resistant and retains a negative image of his body. The creative process itself, the trace of his own body, becomes a monument. Breloh solves the issue, important to his generation, of the extent to which sculpture should reproduce reality. He does this without specifically reproducing it but in direct connection to the body reproduced, the 'lifesize'. Breloh's preferred materials are plaster and clay. Both are exceptionally well suited to retaining the directness of the tactile passion of creation. In the bronze cast (of a plaster figure) Lebensgröße Dresden, this directness of the creative physical impact of the sculptor's knees, stomach and head is directly visible.
Born in 1952. Lives in Düsseldorf, New York und Hayama
Interconnected Sculpture, bronze, 110 x 115 x 200 cm, 2003
Beginning and End
“My art begins where verbal expression ends: behind language.” This is how Abraham David Christian describes the way he sees his work. His interests lie in the corresponding thought patterns of different cultures. During his trips to Asia, Africa and America, Christian studies the traditions of cultures past and present.
He considers life itself to be a journey. A journey in the form of meditation and self-awareness. In the same way as Abraham David Christian discovers similarities in the artistic expression of different cultures, the visitor may also start looking for visual, emotional or philosophical analogies.
The helix-shaped Interconnected Sculpture symbolises logical connection, interrelatedness
and correspondence. In many cultures it is a symbol of natural growth and vitality. By connecting beginning and end, the coiled structures of the helix reflect the eternal cycle of life, the infinite recurrence of existence. For a while, Abraham David Christian worked with the Japanese artist Katsuhito Nishikawa, who is represented in the Gerisch Sculpture Park with his sculpture Schwimmendes Kleeblatt (Floating Clover).
Born in 1959 in Maribor (then part of Yugoslavia). Lives in Düsseldorf, Germany
Swop, 5 tree sculptures in various sizes, painted aluminium, 2007
Ghostly Creatures between Bark and Fiction
Bogomir Ecker made his name with site-specific sculptures and installations in public space. Many of his objects revolve around the subjects of technology and communication, often playfully and ironically. Without any pathos, they appear to be magically charged and, like relics from foreign cultures, they lead a wondrous independent life.
But who swops what with whom here? The functions of these growths, bursting almost naturally out of the trees, are not established either. Will the dark red colour attract birds and make them built their nests? Or are the transformers hidden bugging devices? Are they colourful tree decorations or devices for counting bark beetles? Are there well-meaning spies? Reassurance and threat – the sculptures can signify both these things. Danger lurks everywhere, because ghostly creatures living between bark and fiction have taken up their subversive work in the Gerisch Sculpture Park.
Muthesius Art University, Kiel.
Hendrik Lürper, Andreas Pfeiffer, Claas Schlotfeldt, Chili M. Seitz
Born in 1925 in Nassau, died in 2006 in Edinburgh
Philemon and Baucis, sandstone, 2 plaques, each 30 x 60 x 12 cm, 1984
Some Gardens are Attacks
Ian Hamilton Finlay is considered an artist, but saw himself as a poet. His work as an artist spans different artistic genres, concrete poetry and political agitation. The landscape garden Little Sparta in Pentland Hills is his life’s work and his autobiography, a northern Arcadia which served as a base for artistic attacks on what he considered wrong in the world. “Some gardens are seen as havens, when really they are attacks”, Finlay once remarked. Sparta was not a peaceful city, and Little Sparta is not a peaceful garden. Hidden behind the monuments, quotations carved in stone, aphorisms and scraps of thoughts is a furious, sarcastic but sometimes also playful/humorous declaration of war on the banality of the world and on war and commercialism.
In the Gerisch Sculpture Park, the two memorial plaques Philemon and Baucis refer to this poor, but hospitable couple who offered the gods a bed for the night. As a thank you they received a temple and, after their deaths, were transformed into two adjacent trees. Finlay constantly bemoaned the irreverence of his contemporaries. Philemon and Baucis, the couple from Ancient Greece, lived up to his high standards and become a symbol of an ideal, Arcadian society in which possessions and wealth are insignificant.
Born in 1961 in Brussels, lives in Stockholm
Giant-Triple-Mushroom, 350 cm high, polystyrene, polyester paint, polyester resin, acrylic paint, wire core, filler, hard foam material, steel, 2011
The Giant in the Fairy-tale Wood
The monumental Giant-Triple-Mushroom (consisting of half a fly agaric, a quarter of a morel and a quarter of a wood blewit) is the most recent addition to the Gerisch-Stiftung collection in the 'fairy-tale wood', so named by the garden designer Harry Maasz in 1924. The fly agaric is rooted in the world of Central European fairy-tales like no other mushroom. It is colourful but poisonous. It embodies danger and the opportunity to alter your mind. The legendary drink Soma, supposedly extracted from fly agaric mushrooms, has repeatedly played a major role in Carsten Höller's exhibitions to date.
Born in 1954 in Burgdorf, Switzerland, lives in Cologne and Munich
Heliport Gerisch-Park Neumünster, construction sign for a Heliport Gerisch-Park Neumünster, 250 x 250 cm, 2007
Connection to Ingold Airlines
Ingold Airlines was founded in 1982 by the Swiss artist Res Ingold but exists only as a business idea in virtual space. It is promoted and communicated like a real airline with specific campaigns. The fictitious company reacts to its competition. Service offers such as passenger escort services, VIP service, a members' club or shuttle service are marketed with a remarkably genuine corporate identity that is presented in galleries and museums, and at events and trade fairs. However, the most important items transported are not passengers but ideas. The question of the extent to which Ingold Airlines is real and whether it belongs to the world of art or business cannot be answered clearly. Reality can turn out to be simulated and simulation reacts to reality. The dream of flying becomes a symbol of taking off from everyday life and of the way to Arcadia.
Born in 1932 in Tabor, Czechoslovakia. Lives in Hamburg
Vier Boten, bronze, height 258, 256, 234, 232 cm each, Ø ca. 30 cm, 1990
Lonely Arrival after a long Hike
“The messengers come from the wilderness and have walked for a long time. Now they arrive, each messenger on his own, each lost in his own thoughts, at his own pace.” That is how Jan Koblasa described the four bronze steles during the search for a perfect place for them in the Gerisch Sculpture Park. Each messenger carries his own message and has something personal and surprising. Despite their individual gestures and posture, they are designed to work as a group.
In 1968, after the Prague Spring, Jan Koblasa ended up in Kiel and founded a sculpture class at the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design. Art, politics and religion are the main subjects of his work.
Vier Boten (Four Messengers) is from the private collection of Bettina Horn. As a gesture of personal friendship and recognition, she donated the four steles to Gerisch-Stiftung in July 2007. In the late 1980s, Jan Koblasa worked on a succession of abstract and figurative steles in stained wood which he named Boten (Messengers). Around 1990, two bronze casts of the Vier Boten group were created from four wooden models. Since then one of the bronze casts has been part of Stiftung Rolf Horn in the Gottorf Sculpture Park in Schleswig. During the 1990s, two of the wooden models, the messengers’ ‘parents’, graced the then Czech president Vaclav Havel’s meeting room like a pair of ambassadors. They were a symbol of change and transition.
Born in 1957 in Vienna. Lives in Vienna
Eidyllion, 14.3 m, mirror glass, neon tube, 2010
For the work which Brigitte Kowanz has developed as a site-specific installation for the Gerisch-Stiftung sculpture park, the artist puts the Greek word ‘Eidyllion’ as neon writing in a mirrored glass box. This box covers the wall along the service road (side gate) leading from the Gerisch Gallery to the park. “I use mirrors,” explains Brigitte Kowanz, “to bridge boundaries and to dissolve them. Mirrors conduct and intensify light. The observer is in the real space and through the mirror he gains entry to the virtual space of the installation.” Symmetries, reversals and multiplications of shapes are the basis of Brigitte Kowanz’s complex artistic methods, in which she repeatedly uses light as a ‘material’.
When you look at her sculptures, you cannot help starting to sway and to lose your footing. At the critical point between two aggregate states, the symmetry of matter breaks apart, physicists say. The Viennese artist takes advantage of this fact. A semi-transparent mirrored surface, which covers the entire wall, allows you to see the word ‘Eidyllion’ written in neon on the inside of the glass box, but also shows you the reflection of the park. Like a bold explanation, Kowanz describes the Gerisch Sculpture Park in Greek-lettered neon writing, thus reflecting the essential examination by Gerisch-Stiftung of the cultural conditions for the perception of landscape as an idyll. However, ‘Eidyllion’ not only abandons this alleged definition. The installation not only reflects our gaze via the mirror. It also captures our gaze, never to release it.
Additionally the glass box is also covered in mirror glass on the inside and in this way the our gaze is reflected back and forth infinitely between the internal surfaces of the mirrored space. This creates the effect of infinite duplication of the word ‘Eidyllion’. Ultimately, as if imagined, it is impossible to comprehend, despite its letter code. A space for reflection emerges with numerous images and multiplications of the moment.
Born in 1940. Lives and works in Berlin and Sardinia
Steel in Space
First shown in 2009/10 in Neumünster in the exhibition Verführung und Ordnung (Seduction and Order). Heike Weber und Pit Kroke, the sculpture Tiko by Pit Kroke is now part of the Gerisch Sculpture Park. For Kroke, sculpture is drawing in steel in space. And these drawings in space are entirely non-specific. He chooses shapes which, as far as possible, do not evoke specific images, but which tend to remind us of well-known architectural structures.
The newly-restored steel sculpture Tiko, which stood in front of the Queens Museum of Art in New York before coming to Neumünster, initially suggests an arch. Inspired by the historical formal vocabulary of Sardinia, where he has a second home, the artist translates centuries-old building and craft traditions into a graphic language of gestures which appears both archaic and timeless. Gates, arches and angles, however, turn into bearers of gestures and movements. Their strict geometry is given life, humanised; it swells and fades.
It is important to the artist to avoid any hasty adaptation of his sculptural language to our functional everyday life. “Sculpture is reality, not an emblem or a metaphor. It is the shape of the architectural character of thinking and feeling,” says Kroke. Ultimately his quasi-architectural structures are based on the poetic play of their reformation or transformation, on internal impulses. Straight lines are broken, curves are turned into angles, mathematics, statics and function are questioned. In the same illogical way, he has positioned the arch, which is guarded by a hook jutting out in front. Putting the right leg right in the middle of the path, actually blocking the path, the artist turns the gate-like character of his sculpture into the purity of a scriptural sign in space, into the free play of poetry.
Born in 1941 in Rauschenberg (today Liberec, Czech Republic). Lives in Düsseldorf, Berlin and Karlsruhe
Kopf der Venus, bronze painted, 85 x 60 x 60 cm, 2002
Embodiment of the Head
Confident, full of energy, yet gracefully, the Venus in full make-up looks at the visitors. Although her profile is defined by the eruptive gesture of the sculptor, she seems fully conscious of the ancient figures on which she was modelled. Cast in edifying bronze, she is designed to transcend time. The bronze head Kopf der Venus (Head of Venus) from the series Drei Grazien (Three Graces) embodies Rupert’s vision of female beauty. We do not, however, get to see her body.
The head becomes the most important part of the body. The three graces Hera, Athena and Venus, as figures of Ancient Greek mythology, have always been reinterpreted by artists. For Markus Lüpertz, they became goddesses who accompanied him during the different phases of his work. The ancient hero Paris was initially horrified by his fate, which meant he had to decide between the three Graces. He hesitated between Hera, who promised to make him king, and Athena, who assured him glory on the battlefield. In the end, he chose Venus, who is said to have facilitated his longed-for marriage to Helen.
Lüpertz transfers the body of the goddess of love to the realm of abstraction. He leaves it to the imagination of the observer. Applying his own sculptural approach, Lüpertz has created only the head of Venus. He has made a symbol of proud grace and focused energy, even independently of the iconographic references.
Born in 1932 in Tel Aviv. Lives in Tel Aviv
Kissing Birds, bronze, 410 x 335 x 10 cm, 1999-2000
A Symbol of Peace and Lightness
The sculpture Kissing Birds shows two birds kissing in flight. As a symbol of peace they closely reflect the artist’s political involvement.
Kadishman is one of the prominent Israelis who, with the ‘Manifesto of the Gush Shalom Peace Movement’ in 1999, supported the right of the Palestinians to their own state as the basis of peace. One of his best-known works is the ground installation Shalechet – Gefallenes Laub (Fallen Leaves) in the Jewish Museum in Berlin. 10,000 faces made of iron lie on the ground, theirs mouths open in a silent scream. When crossing the room, the visitor has to walk over these faces as if walking on fallen autumn leaves. Although this installation reminds us of the tragedy of human victims, such as during the Holocaust, it also offers hope. Fallen leaves belong to the past. They decay and allow new life to emerge. Kadishman’s art also seeks reconciliation.
The peaceful pastoral scene, just like in the numerous installations in which, for example, the artist cuts sheeps’ heads in metal, is the crucial element of Kissing Birds. A cheerful, lyrical aura emanates from the sculpture, seemingly cancelling the anguish of the open mouths in the Berlin installation. As the first sculpture in the collection, the Kissing Birds have become the template for the logo of Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung.
Born in 1962 in Halle/Saale. Lives in Berlin
Annie, 48 fence elements, 3 different patterns, each pane of glass 180 x 270 cm,
total length ca. 150 m, 2007
Behind the Net Curtains
Olaf Nicolai has developed a sculptural screen for the 150 m long fence of the Sculpture Park. It is called Annie and because of the screen prints enclosed in glass it bears a strong resemblance to net curtains. The view both into and out of the park is thus filtered by its ornamental pattern.
The reference to the psychological thriller Misery (1990) after the Stephen King novel makes the new fence explosively enigmatic. After a car accident the writer Paul Sheldon is saved and looked after by one of his biggest fans, Annie Wilkens, who is a nurse. When she finds out that one of the characters, Misery, is going to be killed off in the sequel, Paul Sheldon has to rewrite his novel. In the creepy interior in which the writer ultimately has to fight for his life, floral ornaments such as crocheted covers, wallpaper and net curtains have cryptic significance. Even if you have not seen the film, the transparent fence full of allusions adds something special to the essential subject of the sculpture park, “Where is Arcadia?”. Like a translucent film, the net curtain pattern shrouds our perception of the Gerisch Sculpture Park - intertwining nature and its media-relayed portrayals.
Born in 1949 in Tokyo. Lives in Hamburg
Floating Clover, steel, 150 x 150 x 4.3 cm, 2005
Katsuhito Nishikawa’s interests lie in nature and its laws. For him nature sets the standards and man and art have to submit to it. In a synthesis of Western European and Asian ways of thinking, the Japanese artist succeeds in forging art and natural landscapes into a harmonious entity. “I came to Germany because I was so fascinated by the Bauhaus”; this is how Nishikawa explains why he made Germany his cultural home.
In his art objects Katsuhito Nishikawa looks for visual signs which reflect the elemental powers of nature in their complexity. Floating Clover on the pond of the Gerisch Sculpture Park takes the metaphor of reflection literally. Tethered to the bottom of the pond in a 2-metre radius and supported with polystyrene, the clover floats on the surface of the water in perfect symmetry. The gleaming steel surface is always just covered with water and reflects the surroundings of the pond, the sky, light and shadow as they constantly change. Depending on the weather, though, a layer of leaves and pollen may cover the mirror.
Nishikawa worked for a while with Abraham David Christian. They shared an interest in the spiral as a symbol of life and natural growth.
Born in 1960 in Tokyo. Lives in Meerbusch
Süßer Regen–Manna, 3 bronze bowls, Ø 197 x 25 cm, Ø 175 x 13 cm, Ø 130 x 34 cm, 2007
Lotus leaves are the main subject of the Japanese artist Morio Nishimura. “Why do I form lotus? Because that’s the way I am. I am looking for the way humans and nature are intertwined, how we can liberate the relationship between humans and nature and how humans see themselves in this relationship”; this is how Morio Nishimura sees himself as an artist. “The lotus leaf gives me a concept of the universe, of metaphysical existence and of transmigration of the soul.”
The title Süßer Regen (Sweet Rain) is a translation of the Japanese Kanro rain. This rain is a special natural phenomenon, a type of fog that becomes connected to water. The filigree lotus leaves point skywards to absorb the dew from the air and to let it flow together on their surface into a large drop. Thus the energy of Heaven and Earth are gathered in the lotus. Manna refers to the bread from heaven of the Old Testament, seen more generally as a food received in wondrous ways. The title also refers to the drinks that the Gods let rain onto Earth with flowers when Buddha was born. Later on, Buddha was said to have meditated in front of a pond with lotus flowers and to have decided on his mission when looking at them.
The three open bronze lotus leaves which gently float on the water were specially designed by Nishimura for the pond of the Gerisch Sculpture Park.
Born in 1948 in Paduli, Italy. Lives in Paduli
Guerriero della Pace–The Warrior of Peace, bronze, 264 x 100 x 80 cm, 2003
Between the Worlds
Together with Enzo Cucchi and Francesco Clemente, Mimmo Paladino is one of the main exponents of Transavantguardia, a movement in art from the early 1980s which was an Italian counter movement to Minimal Art. The Transavantguardia artists represented a development which studied complex systems of nature, social order and magic. Elements from different cultures were freely combined with a subjective figurative language which could also incorporate lived history.
The figure of the Guerriero della Pace exudes calm and decisiveness. It is the figure of Kouros, the naked youth sculpture from Ancient Greece that Paladino refers to here. In the 7th century, Kouros sculptures, with their eyes closed and their strictly geometrical shape, became the epitome of human perfection. Paladino adds a broken bowl to the stylised figure as well as including some birds happily picking away at the shield-like architectural fragment. This gives the figure vulnerability and inner movement which transcends the ancient model.
What is so special about this Warrior of Peace, who stands like a guard in front of the founders’ villa? Paladino pitches the antagonisms of war and peace against each other: strain and calmness, idyll at home and the warrior-like pose vie with each other. Only the cheerfulness of the birds on the outer side of the shield seems to guarantee peace and freedom.
Born in 1942 in Marseille/Nantes. Live in Paris and Trevi
Occhio Piangente–The Crying Eye, bronze 199 x 36 x 33 cm, 1994
The fragility of cultures
The artistic life’s work of Anne and Patrick Poirier is dedicated to the securing of evidence and the reconstruction of history: “We are interested in the missed opportunities of the past and in the imponderables of the future.” What appears to be nostalgia for past cultures and civilisations reflects archeological rootedness and the socio-utopian vision which has united the couple since the late 1960s.
The title Occhio Piangente (The Crying Eye) refers to Ketas in Pakistan, a place of pilgrimage dating from the 9th and 10th centuries. Legend has it that here the God Shiva cried over the death of his wife Sati. His tears filled a pool which subsequently became a source of water for the local people and a place of spiritual experience. Since the partition of India in 1947, this famous historical place of pilgrimage has fallen into ruin. Against this background, The Crying Eye should be interpreted as an image of human memory.
The sculpture Occhio Piangente in the Gerisch Sculpture Park depicts an eye nestling in the folds of an eyelid from which emerges a long and cascading stream of tears which thickens into a stem rooted in the earth. This makes the whole sculpture ressemble a plant. In its fragility, it becomes a symbol of the fragility of cultures and reminds us to safeguard cultural values from global blurring.
Born in 1964 in Würselen/Aachen. Lives in Düsseldorf
Autokino, video projection at Schwaletunnel (Klaus-Groth-Straße) with 2 cameras in the road, 2007
Alles Verschwindet | Autokino
This is the gate of the Gerisch Sculpture Park, admittedly an unusual entrance to Arcadia. The traffic and pedestrians on the bridge are being filmed by a camera which is sunk into the road and, at the same time, being projected beneath the bridge. Stefan Sous thus creates a link between reality and virtuality, between mundane townscape and park. Stefan Sous is a sculptor and works with found objects which he breaks up and transforms and to which he lends an aura.
The use of light, media and data capture technology is one of his sculptural rituals. He has developed the project Autokino (Drive-in Cinema) for Neumünster. "When you stand in the 'Autokino', you should have the feeling that you are putting your head through the surface of the road," the artist, who lives in Düsseldorf, says of the unusual perspective of the video camera sunk into the road.
Can I be seen down there? Or have I gone already?
The artist is playing with data capture, and also with the willingness of the visitor to interact with media. "You have to hurry if you want to see anything. Everything disappears." Stefan Sous simulates the fully non-Arcadian, globalised feeling of unhappiness associated with the ability to be everywhere virtually but physically linked to your body and one location.
Recording expressly permitted.
Born in 1948 in Austria. Lives in Burgau, near Vienna
Löwenzahn, cast aluminium, painted, H 180, Ø 100 cm, 2008
With Stephan Balkenhol and Thomas Schütte, Thomas Stimm is one of the internationally most important sculptors to have asserted himself, in the 1970s and 1980s, against the predominant formal language of Minimalism with a natural, everyday figurative world. In the 90s, Stimm began to extend his artistic influence to the immediate inhabited environment. He designed visionary architecture for public buildings (Vienna, 1988), brought art to the catwalk with suits in bright colours (Berlin, 1998) and tried, with large-scale carpet patterns in the Graz Congress building (1999), to "return colour to the world". Art should create a habitat "in which the soul can develop its senses".
The flower has become the trademark of Thomas Stimm's work. It stands for the power of growth and is a tongue-in-cheek, almost literal nod to the Flower Power approach to life of the hippies of the late 60s. The works of this artist are characterised by a condensed method of portrayal that seems to operate with the simplicity of a brand. Stimm models his art on comics and those art forms that, like Pop Art (George Segal, Ed Kienholz and Claes Oldenburg), prefer the everyday to the significant. However, this apparently catchy formal language, oriented to emblems, is not superficial. It proves to be open and robust. The radiantly opulent colourfulness of Stimm's sculptures alone attracts the attention of the viewer again and again. This is also proof of the tongue-in-cheek, cryptic nature of all of Thomas Stimm's work.
Born in 1942 in Valencia, Spain. Lives in Madrid and New York
Infanta Margarita, bronze, 120 x 110 x 70 cm, 2004
The Third Dimension
"Every time I go to a museum and look at the work of another artist, I want to take it, steal it, comment on it, make it my own," says Manolo Valdés, explaining how he takes up artistic themes and forms from the history of art.
The sculpture Infanta Margarita is an homage to the famous painting Las Meninas (1656) by Diego Velázquez, which shows the Spanish king and queen visiting the artist's studio. The five-year-old Princess Margarita and her maids of honour are at the centre of the painting. In the creation of his Infanta Margarita, Manolo Valdés is interested in the confrontation of the individual with social norms of physicality. With great presence, in a very wide, almost inflated pannier dress, the Infanta Margarita emerges from a niche at the edge of the garden.
We should imagine the person squeezed into this geometric Baroque clothing to be a delicate person. As such she represents the vulnerability of mastery over nature put on show.
Not far from the open lotus flowers, Süßer Regen–Manna, by the Japanese artist Morio Nishimura, gently floating on the surface of the nearby pond, the Infanta Margarita becomes the sculptural antithesis of the English landscape park, its evolved structures and Arcadian appearances.