My Highlights from ArtInternational 2014
Image rights: © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015
Galerie Löhrl/ Mai 36 galerie/ Hamburger Kunsthalle/ mannheimer Kunstverein, "Stephan Balkenhol: Köpfe", Möchengladbach/ Luzern/ Hamburg/ Mannheim 1991-1992; Staatliche Kunsthalle/ Msuem Küppersmühle für moderne Kunst/ Museum der Moderne, "Stephan Balkenhol", Baden-Baden/ Duisburg/ Salzburg Mönchsberg, 2006
Matthias Winzen (ed.), "Stephan Balkenhol", exh. cat., Cologne 2006, p. 50/51; Galerie Löhrl (ed.), "Stephan Balkenhol: Köpfe", exh. cat., Mönchengladbach 1991, cat. no. 17
Mai 36 Galerie, Luzern; Private Collection Dusseldorf (until 1992)
Stephan Balkenhol carves larger-than-life human figures from blocks of wood with traditional tools. The resulting sculptures are brought to life by the work of his chisel, creating gradations of highlights and shadows and lightly painted surfaces. Early examples of his work—male or female nudes attached to pedestals—echoed classical Greek statues; their carefully positioned features (the geometry of the lip, the curve of the eyebrow) and extraordinarily life-like relaxed postures belie their apparent simplicity. More recent works feature unremarkably dressed contemporary figures, rendered with enough detail to almost suggest three-dimensional portraiture. However, showing no signs of emotion and bearing no socio-critical references, they retain considerable banality. “I’m perhaps proposing a story and not telling the end, just giving a beginning or fragment. There is still a lot for the spectator to complete...,” Balkenhol explains.
German, b. 1957, Fritzlar, Germany, based in Karlsruhe, Germany, and Meisenthal, France